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George and Lennie’s relationship illustrates synergetic characteristics. Hence George depends on Lennie’s strength and hardworking abilities to acquire a new a job, while Lennie depends on George to think and make decisions for him; therefore, keeping him out of trouble. In light of the nature of their relationship, in lieu of Lennie’s inability to comprehend what is right and wrong; it is clear that, the decision to kill Lennie was wrong. Lenny’s actions were not dictated by malicious thoughts, nor were they premeditated but were rather child like innocent reactions aimed at making both of them happy and preventing George’s wrath or condemnation. Therefore, George’s decision to shoot Lennie was wrong in light of their history together, friendship, dependency and George’s mental disability.
Lennie is depicted as unable to make personal decisions and think for himself. His inability to remember relevant issues affecting his life characterizes him as a mentally handicapped individual. His forgetful nature leads him to repeat mistakes which he had been previously warned about; therefore, constantly putt George in a difficult position in getting him out of trouble. George’s indignation of Lennie’s forgetful nature is depicted by his frustration when Lennie keeps asking repetitive questions constantly. Lennie defends himself every time by stating that he tried not to forget, whereas George concedes by saying “I will tell you again. I have nothing to do. Might as well spend all my time telling you things and you forget them, and I tell you again” (Steinbeck 3). Lennie’s mental deficiencies make him a danger to himself and others; however, George manages to avert difficult situations that may face them as a result of Lennie’s actions. Therefore, Lennie acts innocently without comprehending the consequences of his actions; however, he does not wish to anger George. This aspect illustrates George as the superior and dominant party of the two; therefore, makes unilateral decisions that affect them both. On the other hand, George is aware of the implications the Lennie’s actions may have on his life; hence he endeavors to avert any wrong doing on Lennie’s part through warnings and threats.
George understands Lennie’s inability to make decisions for himself; therefore, he takes the responsibility to make appropriate decisions for him. He worries that if, Lennie was allowed to make a case for himself, he would not be able to leading to their disqualification as fit individuals for employment. He understands that people will overlook his physical abilities and obedience to authority in executing his duties (Bloom 109). George realizes that Lennie will be judged according to his mental inabilities; therefore, he would be significantly disadvantaged in acquiring employment. This would result to suffering and loss of direction which may endanger Lennie and those around him. Therefore, George assumes the responsibility of speaking and negotiating on behalf of Lennie. He appreciates that, in spite of Lennie’s mental and social inadequacies, he is a hard worker whose working abilities keep them both employed (Shamblin 33). Hence George understands Lennie’s predicament and seeks to protect him. He appreciates the fact that people will not understand Lennie’s actions; hence may be misconstrued as malicious and evil. He realizes that in order to protect Lennie constant monitoring and instructing is essential. This aims at keeping Lennie in check while averting any potential dangerous interactions with other people. Lennie appreciates the fact that George looks out for him and aspires to please him. He realizes that George protects him from the dangers and cruelty of the world; hence his absolute obedience to him. He realizes that they need each other as he asserts “I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you” (Steinbeck, 7).
Shooting Lennie negated the principles, aspirations and dreams in which they both believed in; therefore, George failed in keeping his promise to protect Lennie from himself and others. George aspired to own his own farm, a fact that exited Lennie significantly. The prospect of owning rabbits and having the sole responsibility to take care of them kept Lennie happy, lost in blissful thoughts, while keeping him away from trouble. George’s dream was to have a humble home for Lennie away from temptations and potential conflicts resulting from his mindless actions. Lennie illustrates an averse attribute towards confrontations and conflicts; his preference for solitude in the company of animals makes him conscious of the fact that he is incapable of sociable human interaction apart from George. This realization made Lennie avoid human contact or conversations in the absence of George, he understood that in George’s absence people would criticize his inabilities and ridicules him; however, he knew that, in George’s presence, he would be able to safe from any trouble. Their fellow workers suggest that George should venture to into town with them to have some fun; He declines observing that he and Lennie intended to save up enough money for their intended purchase of a farm. He realizes that he has a responsibility to Lennie, and it is critical to find a permanent solution to their problem; hence averting any possible mistakes on Lennie’s part (Steinbeck 31). Lennie’s appreciates and considers George as a role model and wishes to emulate him despite his shortcomings. He asserts that when they get their own farm; he will diligently execute his duties in taking care of rabbits and promises never to leave the farm. It is critical that George protects and mentors Lennie; since his forgetful nature leads him to repeating his mistakes; in light of this George threatens to keep Lenny away from the things he holds dear, rabbits.
The incident involving Curley’s wife realizes George’s fears and leads to Lennie’s demise. Lennie’s attraction to small animals and anything that he likes are a child like reaction culminating from his mental deficiencies. However, when he kills the puppy by mistake, he is apprehensive of George’s reaction. He realizes that by killing the puppy he has broken George’s trust and instructions to keep away from the puppies. Lennie understands that he has done wrong and is afraid of George’s reaction; hence when Curley’s wife approaches him and offers him comfort; George is instantly oblivious of his previous deed and his hold of her hair leads to breaking her neck. The death of Curley’s wife though not intended is construed as an intentional act of a crazy person. People refuse to observe Lennie as a handicapped individual whose deeds should be understood as motivated by good intentions (Meyer 65). He is perceived as a menace and a danger to society which should be eliminated. While the people are passing their verdict of a death sentence on Lennie, George does not pose any opposition but rather he acknowledges his work mates observations and assertions. He betrays Lennie in refusing to advocate for his innocence and good intentions. George realizes that any Arguments for Lennie will be misconstrued, and he will be regarded as a participant in Lennie’s actions.
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George’s action to shoot Lennie demonstrates a selfish aspect of his character. He realizes that Lennie’s action is bound to take both of them to jail in the event he defended him. Therefore, he perceives Lennie as a burden which is no longer willing to bear and should be disposed of to avert any further suffering on his account. The decision to shoot Lennie was based on the perception that his continued existence will culminate to future problems for George. However, more humane approaches such as taking him to Jail or a mental institution could have been used. The decision to shoot Lennie was made while equating him to an ordinary criminal.