Of Mice And Men

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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The novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a story about all aspects of friendship and the American dream. A long time ago a little boy by the name of Lennie was dared by some other boys to jump into the water, one of them by the name of George. Lennie was dumb and jumped in without knowing how to swim. As Lennie was close to drowning, George jumped in and saved his life. From this point forward George and Lennie have been attached by the hip. Sometimes you need to be cruel to be nice and that is just the case in the shocking conclusion to Of Mice and Men.

On a Sunday afternoon while all the men who lived and worked on the ranch were playing horseshoes, Lennie was in the barn petting his new puppy. Lennie is a very strong man that does not know how strong he really is.

While petting the puppy, Lennie claims that it was trying to bite him so he just slapped him softly, but as strong as Lennie was that was just enough to kill the poor new born pup. Now all Lennie keep saying was "George ain't gonna let me tend no rabbits now" (Stinebeck, John 87), but that wasn't the case. As Lennie was trying to cover up the dead pup Curler's wife comes in just looking for someone to talk to. The two of them talked for a few minutes before Lennie started to feel the ladies hair. As she tried to pull away Lennie grabbed her around the neck and killed her because he was so strong. In the beginning of the story George told Lennie that if he ever gets in trouble he should go to the edge of the pond where they spent the night when they were on there way to the ranch, and that is just where Lennie went. By the time that all the other men on the ranch found out that the tart was killed Lennie had already started off to his hiding spot. All of the men on the ranch got on their horses on a mission to kill the killer. George stayed behind but soon set off to find Lennie on foot, and knew right where to find him. As the long time friends met at the edge of the pond all Lennie wanted to know is if he would still be able to tend the rabbits. George told him to kneel down and not to face him so that he could tell him about how someday they would get there own place, and as soon as Lennie asked about the rabbits George raised the gun and shot him right in the side of the head. The shot to the head killed him instantly.

Many people ask why would George kill his best friend. By George killing Lennie himself it saved them both a lot of pain. With George killing Lennie himself it put Lennie out without having him suffer at all. If Curley would have gotten to him first he could have tortured him first, or shot him in a place that would not have killed him instantly and that would have also made him suffer. Curley said, "I'm gonna shoot the guts outa that big bastard myself, even if I only got one hand"(98). Lennie would not have died instantly if he would have been shot in the gut. Before George and Lennie came to town and started working on the ranch they both worked on a farm in a small town called Weed. The two both were forced off the farm because Lennie got himself in trouble and could not stay without the fear of being killed. This probably all came to George's head when Lennie was kneeling down beside the pond.

Life without Lennie would be a lot easier George claims. "What ever we ain't got, that's what you want. God a'mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an' work, an' no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go it to town and get what ever I want. Why, I could stay in the cat house all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel of any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An' I could do that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky, or set in the pool room and play cards or shoot pool"(11). George would in deed have it a lot easier without Lennie, and Lennie is what has been holding him back for years. Lennie could not hold a job and lost every job that George ever had. With Lennie not holding George back anymore, George will finally be able to make something of his life and he will be able to move on and take his fifty bucks at the end of the month and do what ever he wants with it. The killing was all for the best.

It was indeed a very shocking conclusion to the novel Of Mice and Men, but it should not be a sad ending because the killing was all for the best. It is true that sometimes one might need to be cruel to be nice. That is just how George was thinking, it was probably very hard for him to kill someone who he has been with for years but he is much better off now. This novel is a great story and should be recommended to all students. Always remember that sometimes cruel can be nice.