Does Lennie Die in Of Mice and Men? – Discover the Heartbreaking End (2023)

Of Mice and Men is a novel by John Steinbeck which tells the story of two migrant workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, as they travel from place to place in search of work during the Great Depression. The focus keyword, “does Lennie die in Of Mice and Men?”

refers to the tragic end of the novel, where Lennie accidentally kills a woman and is pursued by a lynch mob. This raises the question: did Lennie survive, or did he meet his demise?

The answer to this question has significant implications for the themes and messages of the novel, as well as for the fate of its main characters.

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The Final Moments

Of Mice and Men is a novel by John Steinbeck that follows the story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, during the Great Depression. Lennie is a large and strong man, but he has a mental disability that makes him incredible childlike.

The question “Does Lennie die in Of Mice and Men?” has been a topic of debate among readers for years.

Throughout the book, Lennie accidentally kills animals because of his strength and lack of understanding. When Lennie and George get to a new ranch for work, Lennie’s behavior causes problems with the boss’s son, Curley, which leads to a confrontation.

Afterwards, George and Lennie discuss their dream of owning a small farm together one day. They make a plan to escape and go to a safe spot if anything goes wrong.

However, despite all of George’s care and protection, Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife. George knows that if the ranch workers find Lennie, they will kill him in the most brutal way.

So, George decides to take Lennie’s life himself but makes his last moments happy by reminiscing about their dream farm.

The tragic ending of the novel shows the darker side of human nature and how it has the power even to destroy a pure friendship. The death of Lennie not only portrays the harsh reality of the time but also signifies how society views differently-abled individuals.

It’s a sad conclusion, but it brings to light many important issues.

In conclusion, the answer to “Does Lennie die in Of Mice and Men?” is yes. However, it’s crucial to understand the factors leading up to the event and the significance of the novel’s ending.

Steinbeck’s work is a powerful piece of literature that touches on themes such as prejudice, loneliness, and the human condition, and has been read and loved by generations of readers all over the world.

George’s Decision

At the end of Of Mice and Men, George is forced to make a difficult decision. He decides to shoot and kill Lennie, his best friend and companion.

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George felt responsible for Lennie and needed to put him out of his misery after he accidentally killed Curley’s wife. The shooting of Lennie had a profound impact on George’s life.

He was left feeling guilty, alone, and without a purpose.

George had been working towards a dream of owning a farm with Lennie, but after Lennie’s death, he realized that this dream was unattainable without Lennie. The dream of owning a farm represented hope and belonging for George, but without Lennie, it lost its significance.

George’s decision to kill Lennie was not an easy one, but it was made out of love and compassion. He knew that Lennie’s mental disability made him incapable of understanding the consequences of his actions, and that he would never be able to live a peaceful life.

In the end, George chose to end Lennie’s life as an act of mercy, despite the pain it caused him.


The death of Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” goes beyond a mere description of an event. It carries a deeper meaning that points to the themes of the novel.

Steinbeck uses Lennie’s death as an opportunity to highlight the harsh reality of a world where the strong prey on the weak.

The parallelism between Lennie and Candy’s dog is a clear indication of a lack of value for lives that are considered insignificant. Candy’s dog was killed because it had become old, smelly, and useless.

Similarly, Lennie was killed because he was considered a burden to those around him.

Slim’s advice to Candy that “…the best thing” would be to “shoot” his dog shows the necessity of putting such animals out of their misery, and foreshadows the mercy killing of Lennie by George.

Moreover, Lennie’s death marks the end of George and Lennie’s dream of owning a farm, as that dream relied on the strength and protection that Lennie provided to George. Without Lennie, George is unable to live out this dream.

The death of Lennie also underlines the significance of the friendship between George and Lennie. Their friendship transcended the barriers like race and age, but it was ultimately destroyed by the harshness of reality in the world they lived in.

Overall, Lennie’s death, though tragic, signifies the cruel reality of a world where the weak and vulnerable are at the mercy of the strong. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of the companionship and loyalty between individuals in such a world.

Character Analysis – Lennie

“Does Lennie die in Of Mice and Men?” is a question that is often asked by readers of the book. The answer is yes, Lennie does die in the novella.

The tragic character of Lennie is one of the central figures in John Steinbeck’s novel.

Lennie’s character is described as mentally disabled, but he also has physical strength that he doesn’t know how to control. He is dependent on his friend George who takes care of him and guides him through life.

Lennie’s strength and naivety often lead to accidental deaths of small animals and, eventually, people.

Despite his disability, Lennie’s innocent and sweet-natured personality draws the readers to him. He has good intentions and is focused on simple pleasures, like tending and petting soft animals.

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His dream of owning a farm with George further showcases his desire for a simple life.

However, Lennie’s disability and lack of social awareness often put him in danger. In the novella, he accidentally kills Curley’s wife, leading George to make the difficult decision to end his friend’s life himself.

This event not only ends Lennie’s life, but also destroys the rare and idealized friendship between Lennie and George.

Ultimately, Lennie’s death is a tragic end to a character who had a pure heart, but was unable to control his actions due to his disability.

The American Dream

In ‘Of Mice and Men’, the American Dream is a central theme. It is the belief that if you work hard enough, you can achieve success, fame, and happiness in America.

The dream is something that many characters in the book are striving for, including Lennie and George. Lennie has a simple dream of taking care of rabbits, while George and Lennie dream of owning a farm together.

Throughout the book, Lennie’s dream of tending and petting rabbits is a recurring motif. It represents his desire for a soft, gentle life, while the violence around him overwhelms and scares him.

In contrast, George’s dream of owning a farm represents independence, self-sustenance, and a life away from the harsh realities of society.

Lennie’s dream has an impact on his relationship with George, as George promises to make it come true for him. It provides them with a sense of purpose and a common goal to strive towards.

However, Lennie’s disability makes it challenging for them to achieve their dream. George’s attempt to keep Lennie out of trouble and protect him ultimately fails, leading to Lennie’s tragic death.

The death of Lennie, the physical embodiment of the American Dream, represents the decline of their hopes and aspirations. It shows the fleeting nature of dreams and the harsh realities that can destroy them.

George, who had been the main advocate for the American Dream, is forced to abandon it, as Lennie’s death means that their dream can never come to fruition.

In conclusion, the American Dream is an important motif in ‘Of Mice and Men’, representing the desire for a better life and the harsh obstacles that can prevent it from being realized. Lennie and George’s dream of owning a farm together shows the importance of friendship, loyalty, and determination in achieving one’s goals.

However, their ultimate failure highlights the elusive nature of the American Dream and how it can be easily shattered by tragedy and adversity.


  • Loneliness and isolation in the novel. How it affects Lennie and George’s relationship.
  • The theme of loneliness and isolation in Of Mice and Men is apparent throughout the novel. Lennie and George’s friendship stems from the shared feeling of loneliness, as they travel together and depend on each other.

    Candy, the old swamper, is also isolated due to his age and his physical disabilities. Curley’s wife is a more complex character, as her loneliness and isolation stem from the misogyny and sexism she faces on the ranch.

    Lennie and George’s relationship is also affected by this theme, as they depend on each other for companionship and support, ultimately leading to George’s difficult decision to kill Lennie to prevent his inevitable isolation and loneliness.

  • Friendship and sacrifice in Of Mice and Men. Analyzing the depth of the bond between Lennie and George.
  • The theme of friendship and sacrifice is also prominent in Of Mice and Men, particularly in the relationship between Lennie and George. Their bond is based on a deep sense of loyalty and protection towards each other, even leading to George’s decision to kill Lennie to spare him from a worse fate.

    This theme is also apparent in other characters, such as Candy’s decision to sacrifice his remaining years on the ranch for his chance to be a part of Lennie and George’s dream. Despite the difficulties and tragedies they face, the characters in Of Mice and Men demonstrate the power and importance of human connection and friendship.

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Alternate Endings

The death of Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” is a pivotal moment in the novella, as it marked the end of their dream of living off the land. However, some readers may wonder what could have happened if Lennie did not die, and how it would have affected the storyline and the characters.

If Lennie did not die, it is possible that George and Lennie would still be able to live off the land and achieve their dream. However, it is important to note that Lennie’s mental disability and the trouble that he often encounters may still pose a challenge for them.

The ranch hands and other characters may still see Lennie as a liability, which could result in conflict or potential harm towards Lennie.

Moreover, Lennie’s innocence and naivety may have continued to put him in dangerous situations that could potentially jeopardize their dream. This may cause George to continue to struggle with his morals and taking care of Lennie.

On the other hand, if Lennie did not die, it is possible that the destruction of their friendship may still occur, as George may become more frustrated with Lennie’s actions and ultimately give up on their dream. Furthermore, with Lennie’s death not being a factor, the themes of innocence, vulnerability, and discrimination may have been explored in a different manner.

In conclusion, the death of Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” is a significant part of the novella that highlights the fragility of the American Dream and the importance of companionship. While it is interesting to ponder on alternate endings, the death of Lennie is essential in understanding the complex relationships between the characters and the themes presented in the story.


The death of Lennie, one of the main characters in Of Mice and Men, is significant in the context of the novel. Lennie’s death symbolizes the death of the American Dream, where two idealistic characters dream of living off the land and realizing their aspirations.

The death of Lennie has a profound impact on readers, where the destruction of the dream and the tragic ending of the friendship between George and Lennie evoke a deep emotional response. The novel conveys a powerful message about the harsh realities of social injustice and the weight of responsibility that comes with caring for vulnerable, innocent individuals.


Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

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