Did George Milton Kill Lennie Smalls for His Own Good or for Personal Gain?

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 2 (529 words) Published: March 4, 2013
In the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the main character is faced with an extremely difficult situation and decision. George Milton ends up killing Lennie Smalls, the man who he had been traveling with for years. He is forced to kill Lennie for his own good. It is arguable that George had selfish reasons for the murder but Lennie was his family, his companion. He would never do such a thing for personal gain. Lennie was a nice guy, and he never meant any harm. However, he always ended up getting into trouble or doing “bad things”. All of this often angered George, who fantasizes about what he could have been doing if Lennie weren’t weighing him down. For example, when the men were working in Weed, Lennie had them hiding in an irrigation ditch overnight because he frightened a woman. He gripped on to her dress, giving her the impression that he was trying to hurt her. Lennie of course didn’t mean any harm, he just enjoyed petting soft things. All of the inconveniences to George would give the impression that Mr. Milton would actually want Lennie dead. This was not the case. George cared for Lennie like he was family. The promise he made with Lennie’s Aunt Clara is just what brought them together. This can be seen when George and Lennie talk about their dream, Lennie says “because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why”(14). At the end of the novel, George is left with only two choices: let Lennie be tortured and killed by the other men, or kill him on his own… a quick and painless death. Of course he does not want Lennie to suffer, so he does it on his own. And it clearly was not easy. The quote from the book “George raised the gun and his hand shook, and he dropped his hand to the ground again”(105) further supports this. George’s shaking hand proves how difficult it was to let go of a long time friend. Slim is one of the few people who understand their relationship. He was the only one who George confided in...
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