George Vs. Lennie (Strength Vs. Intelligence) Essay, Research Paper
After George shoots Lennie in the back of the head, who is better off, George or Lennie? The story Of Mice and Men contains a comparison of strength versus intelligence. Lennie has the strength and George has the intelligence. However, in the end neither prevails. Lennie is very strong but lacks intelligence. This combination eventually leads to his death. There are, however, both positives and negatives to this combination of strength and lack of intelligence. Lennie’s strength enables him to be a very good worker on the ranch. “I say he’s a damn good worker. He can put up a four hundred pound bale.”(22) Because he is a good worker Lennie is able to gain respect from many of his co-workers. After his first day’s work Slim can already tell that Lennie is a great worker. “I never seen such a worker There ain’t nobody can keep up with him. God awmighty I never seen such a strong guy.”(39) Lennie’s brute strength also gives him the power to defend himself when necessary. When Curly was punching him, all Lennie had to do was grab Curly’s fist and crush it. “Curly’s fist was swinging when Lennie reached for it. The next minute Curley was flopping like a fish on a line “(63)There are many downfalls also that come along with Lennie’s strength and stupidity. He often hurts animals and people because he is too strong for his own good. When he is petting his puppy he is too strong and ends up breaking its neck. When he crushed Curley’s hand he did not mean to hurt Curley that much. He was just not smart enough to know when to stop. Perhaps the most severe action of Lennie’s strength and stupidity is when he kills Curley’s wife. “And he shook her; and her body flopped like a fish. And then she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck.”(91) Lennie’s lack of intelligence causes him to be confused at times. He has to try to concentrate in order to remember small things. “Lennie droned to himself softly, “I ain’t gonna say nothin’ I ain’t gonna say nothin’ I ain’t gonna say nothin’.”"(7) Lennie’s stupidity does cause him to be very cheery and happy at times. He is happy whenever he thinks of rabbits and his dream that one day he will get to feed and take care of them. However, he also worries all the time that if he does something bad George will not let him have rabbits. Intelligence is defined as the ability to learn or understand from experience; or the ability to acquire and retain knowledge. George may not be a genius, but when compared with Lennie he is intelligent. George’s intelligence also has it pros and cons. He almost always has a very well thought out plan for everything. When him and Lennie are going to work on the new ranch, he plans out exactly how he wants everything to go and how Lennie should act. His most major and intricate plan is his idea to buy a house with Lennie. He maps it out to the smallest detail.
“Well, it’s ten acres,” said George. “Got a little win’mill. Got a little shack on it, an’ a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, ‘cots, nuts, got a few berries. They’s a place for alfalfa and plenty water to flood it.”(57) George’s smarts also causes him to be very confident. George has no doubt in his mind that he will get the land and house. He is also confident that he will not work on ranches for the rest of his life. George’s intelligence is not always good. It causes him to think that he is better than Lennie and he then gets mad at Lennie a lot. “So you forgot that awready, did you? I gotta tell you again, do I? Jesus Christ, you’re a crazy bastard!”(4) George also thinks about things to much which causes him to make bad choices. When Lennie kills Curley’s wife, George over analyzes the situation and comes to the conclusion that he must kill Lennie. Both Lennie and George seem to have a defining characteristic. Each has pros and cons for their characteristic, but is one better than the other? In the end neither one comes out on top. It might appear that George’s intelligence is the better of the two. But when he decides to kill Lennie it can be seen that his intelligence is not really a good thing. “He pulled the trigger Lennie jarred, and then settled slowly forward to the sand, and he lay without quivering.”(106) In the end, Lennie may be dead but George’s life may be even worse now than if he was dead also. He must live the rest of his life knowing that he killed his best friend who had never intended to hurt anyone. Lennie’s strength plays a major role in this story, as does George’s intelligence. It is Lennie’s strength and stupidity that causes him to get in trouble and George who decides to kill Lennie. This juxtaposition and battle of strength and intelligence continues throughout the story. However, in the end, neither prevails.