George's Decision to Kill Lennie in Of Mice and Men


In John Steinbeck’s Depression-era novel, Of Mice and Men, George kills his friend and traveling partner, Lennie, mostly to be free from Lennie and all the trouble he causes. The novel center on George’s dilemma on whether or not he should continue looking out for Lennie, or strike out on his own. Towards the end of the book, Lennie makes a terrible mistake and accidentally kills Curley's wife. Lennie then runs away scared. Curly is furious and gets a group of people to capture him and either lock him up in a mental institute or kill him. George then finds Lennie. Ultimately, George chooses to cut free from Lennie by taking advantage of the opportunity to execute him. 

The first reason why George shoots Lennie was that George knows how relaxing life would be without him. George states this by saying “I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail”(7). George is frustrated with having to take care of Lennie. This is an early sign that George wants to get rid of him. Some people would disagree with this because George promises Lennie’s Aunt Clara that he would take care of him. George confirms this by saying “I told his old Lady I’d take care of him”(22). George wouldn’t disobey Aunt Clara. He knows he has to take care of him no matter what and wouldn’t get rid of him. With that being said, Lennie is a nuisance and annoys George greatly. George knows he would have so much more control in his life if he didn’t have to drag around Lennie. It has gotten to the point where he cares more about his own good. 

Secondly, George talks about how Lennie always gets in trouble with Slim. When George was talking to Slim, he asked what happened at their other ranch. George goes on and says how Lennie grabbed a girl’s skirt. The girl was screaming and accusing Lennie of rape. Knowing this, George and Lennie run away. Proceeding with the conversation, George then recalls, “But he gets in trouble alla time because he’s so god damn dumb”(41). George and Lennie always have to move around because Lennie can control himself. George knows if he gets rid of him he could stay in one place his entire life. The anger George shows towards Lennie is building up. On the other hand, some people would say that George was never mad. They say this because when George was gonna shoot Lennie, he says this “I ain’t mad. I never been mad, an’ I ain’t now. That’s a thing I want ya to know” (106). George expresses to Lennie that he’s never been mad at him. With that being said, we can tell that’s not very true because throughout the book George always gets frustrated. I believe he’s telling Lennie this to make him feel happy before he kills him. 

Also, if George didn’t want to kill Lennie they could’ve run away again like they always do. It would give them another chance but George decided to kill Lennie instead. Including this, along with George stating how good life would be without him and how Lennie always gets in trouble,  show that George kills his friend and traveling partner, Lennie, mostly to be free from Lennie and all the trouble he causes.

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