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Essay/Term paper: Discuss lennie's motives in killing lennie.

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is a story that shows how weak people can be in the sense of loyalty. This loyalty, defined as putting strong will and strength into a relationship in all cases is being put into a light of making choices. This means you have to make the decision between Loyalty and "Friends", which also can be described as people that are together but basically are lonely for themselves and that decision-making is important.

If you watch the whole novel as a representative book of American Culture, you strongly can see that basically every person is afraid of going in depth. How did Curly react on Lennie's act of killing his wife? In my opinion he acted very raging and upset. He made the decision right away to look for Lennie and kill him ("Curly wanta get him lynched", p. 94). I would take this as an example of not reacting in-depth and looking at all aspects of an issue. But what does this have to do with George's Motives to kill Lennie?

Be honest: How many choices did George really have? For stating the situation: A person called Lennie is committing an unwanted crime on a loved person that has the affect of making the husband raging. Lennie hides, and the husband comes after him with a rifle with the will to kill him for this act. George finds it out and is automatically involved with this situation although he hasn't done a thing. And now he has to make a decision for someone who is not able to understand that he can't make any.

The first possibility for George would have been, as it also happened in the book, to kill Lennie before he is being killed by Curly, the husband of Curley's wife. But there the question of moral comes up where you ask yourself it that really makes sense to kill somebody you love. In this case it definitely does. George thinks all the other situations through and sees that this is the only valid one. He has to think of himself too: He doesn't want to live a life of persecution, and his friends are also important to him. This seems to be a very weak argument, but watch the other possibilities.

One of the other possibilities would have been not to care of it at all and just let Lennie be shot by Curly, who is all about threatening him in that minute. He really wants to make his death painful, and if George had cared, Lennie probably would have died under very bloody circumstances.

Another way of choosing would have been to tell Lennie to hide somewhere constantly with or without him, but people who have read the book know that Lennie cannot take care of himself on a long-term basis. He maybe would have starved somewhere at any place or would have got lost. Even if George would have been with him, how long does it take to be found by the others? Does he really want to live somewhere in the "outback" for the rest of his life? Or is it even possible to do that since both of them need money to live? This also doesn't sound very reasonable and convincing.

We all know that Lennie is a very manipulating personality. One thing what George could have done is to tell Lennie to shoot Curly before he shoots him and to shoot anybody who could show evidence that Lennie is a criminal. But how realistic is that? Lennie is so sensitive that he probably even couldn't hold the gun in his hand (watch the reaction where Lennie hurts Curly: "Male 'um let me be alone, George." , p.63) and it also is not very realistic that he even would have understood that it is about his life. For George it also would have been a disadvantage in itself, if you think about his job (his boss is Curlys father) and other people he has to deal with. But this situation, I believe, Curly wouldn't have given both of them no chance, because Curly was pretty aggressive at that time and did not seem like being very cooperative. But you still could have tried to calm him down as another, also very unrealistic possibility of telling him how sorry Lennie was and that he would do anything what he wants him to do. But as mentioned, Curly was too upset to listen.

Would Lennie like to go to an insanity hospital? I don't think so. But still, it would have been a way of avoiding Lennies death committed by Curly. But at that time, insanity hospitals were very threatening and not really an alternative for people to go to. From the pain factor, mentally and physically, it would have been even worse for him to be there than "just" being shot by a person who is upset. George also would have not been able to afford the insanity hospital for Lennie, because I bet that costs money too.

All over all, George really did not have any realistic choices left to help Lennie in a friendly way. And in this situation he also had to think about himself because he had to make a choice between him and Lennie or the others. He chose the others as a more beneficial thing for him. Shooting Lennie only had the loss of Lennie, but going with Lennie or doing anything would have cost him the loss of his friends, the job, his money, and the standard of living. Those points were too attractive for George to be given up, and that is why George took the only and the best possibility for Lennie and him by telling him about their American dream ("Let's do it now. Let's get that place now.", p.106) to shoot him painlessly.


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