The major irony in Of Mice and Men is that George kills Leonie because of their friendship. George kills Leonie to spare him from a worse death. George complained about Leonie and his defects, but realizes his importance only after his death. Once Leonie is dead, George loses the weight of responsibility Leonie caused him, but he is also lonely. Also, Leonie and George’s dream to own their own farm that is carried out throughout the novel disappears with Lien’s death. George and Leonie dream of owning a little farm of ten acres with a windmill, little shack, an orchard and many animals.
The dream keeps them going and makes their work easier but also solidifies their friendship. The dream that leads them on will die with Lien’s death. The dream of Leonie and George is one Of the types Of American Dream popular in American fiction. Their dream is that of wealth and land, the desire for a home, and to work their own land. For Leonie in particular it is to have responsibility for once, to look after the rabbits, and to finally have a sense of self worth. Yet the irony in Of Mice and Men is that the dream seems a mirage, it will not be achieved.
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George and Leonie try to deny their social class and role in the world, but the outcome will prove this dream to be unreachable. George and Leonie only own their arms and the friendship between them. Lien’s retardation causes irony in the novel. Despite the fact that Leonie is fundamentally good, a grown child, he harms those that surround him. This can be seen when he kills the mouse because he stroked it too hard. Yet, the killing of the mouse was caused by his affection for it, and his liking its soft our.
Similarly, he kills the puppy, and eventually Curler’s wife. All these acts occur not due to hatred or the intentional desire to harm, but due to his childish affection, and love for the mouse, the puppy and Curler’s wife. Leonie is simply too slow to realize his own strength and his retardation is the cause of his death. Despite the fact George tried to keep him out of trouble, Leonie eventually puts himself in a situation from which he cannot be saved. All Leonie can do is kill him to avoid him a worse fate. Ironically, it is also love that causes Lien’s death.
George kills him to save him from lunching. And once again, their is irony in George’s situation at the end of the book. Despite the weight Leonie was to his friend, because of to his mental retardation, George is alone and lonely at the end of the novel. Through these feelings he realizes the worth of his friendship with Leonie, that was greater than the problems caused by his retardation but that still caused his death. Loneliness troubles many characters in Of Mice and Men, including Candy, Crooks, Curler’s wife, and Slim.
Their desire for human many makes them human and makes George and Leonie unselfish and good in their friendship that is stronger than their social condition. In Of Mice and Men, the fundamental irony is that no matter how elaborately George and Leonie plan their future, and regardless of how strongly they hope and dream their plan will not happen. George and Leonie are forced to work the land of others, dreaming for the day they will own their own farm. They work hard to reach their dream, yet the effects of Lien’s retardation, despite him being good, will cause them not to achieve their dream.
George and Lien’s friendship is what makes them unique, yet did not stop their sad destiny. Despite the fact that Leonie is a weight for George, George always ends up defending him but cannot do anything to save him in the end and his forced to kill him. He kills him for love and this is another element of irony in Of Mice and Men. But once Leonie is dead, George is lonely and despite his attachment to his dream of owning a farm he has to realize his dream has died with Leonie, because it was their dream, not his own.