Of Mice and Men

by: John Steinbeck

What Does the Ending Mean?

Summary What Does the Ending Mean?

Lennie’s death conclusively demonstrates one of the novella’s central ideas: according to the rules of the American economy, the weak and vulnerable cannot survive. At the end of Of Mice and Men, George spares Lennie from Curley’s wrath by shooting Lennie in the back of the head after reciting their shared dream of owning a farm one final time. Because George is forced to kill his friend himself, Lennie’s death is not only the death of a single vulnerable person, but also the destruction of a rare and idealized friendship. Throughout the novella, George and Lennie have viewed themselves as special and lucky because they have their friendship with one another, but in the end, all this means is that George must be the person to kill Lennie. This conclusion suggests that for the poorest and most isolated people, lasting friendship is a dream as cruelly unattainable as land ownership.