By Abbey Unger
The novella ‘Of Mice & Men’ by John Steinbeck is a touching story of the friendship between two men set in the U.S during the 1930’s of the Great Depression. In this novel George was faced with a consequential decision to save Lennie from Curley’s wrath.
The story follows two men who are travelling by foot to find work. They are faced with many social issues due to one character, Lennie, having a mental disability. Because of Lennie’s incredible strength and childlike mind he ends up putting them into many stressful situations. George had to choose between the rights and wrongs of each option and ended up shooting Lennie to save him from the horrid futures that faced him. “You hadda, George. I swear you hadda” (Page 106.)
George’s decision of killing Lennie was not an act of selfishness rather an act of love, compassion and empathy. George cared so much for Lennie and was always looking out for him. He never used Lennie’s mental disability as a way to get ahead in life. “No, ‘course I ain’t. Why ya think I’m sellin’ him out?” (Page 24) Many people expected a smart guy like George to be carrying a guy like Lennie around to take advantage of. “It’s a lot nice to go around with a guy you know,” (Page 36) Most of the men in this time did not have any family or loved ones, they were on their own and had no reason to live. Where as George and Lennie had each other and it would have made them feel secure knowing there was someone who cared for them and someone they could rely on. Not only did they have their friendship to look forward to but also the dream.
The dream that these two friends shared was a major part of the novel as it was what kept them hopeful and sane. “Jesus Christ! I bet we could swing her – I bet we could swing her” (Page 60) being able to feel so close to the ultimate American Dream would have felt so fulfilling by itself. Having the dream to look forward to brought them out of bed in the morning and gave them a reason to live.
But Once George shot Lennie the dream of owning a farm together ended in an instant. “ – I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we’d never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking maybe we would.” (Page 93) Their lives were so full of hope before the shooting that once the gun went off it was like a tunnel of light suddenly turning to black. “You an’ me can get that little place, can’t we, George? Can’t we” (Candy, Page 93) It not only ended for George and Lennie but Candy as well. Lennie was the center and hope of the dream, that once he was shot all the innocence, kindness and hope he shared had disappeared and they where back to how they used to be before the dream became their future. But killing Lennie was still the best option because the dream would have ended either way and if they had…