Analysis Of Characters In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, one of the characters, Candy, lives and works on a ranch. He is past his prime, in addition to being physically handicapped. Most other workers on the ranch know this all too well, and often ostracize the man for bringing little work value to the ranch. Alongside Candy, on the ranch live quite a few dogs, some quite young and one very old, who are also determined to provide little work value and are later cast aside because of this. The treatment of these characters in the novel represent how society deems one’s practicality and usefulness more important than one’s value as a person.

Canines appear to hold a special place in Steinbeck's novel, often representing things beyond just an animal. Before the
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He “[has] no teeth, [is] damn near blind, [and] can't eat.” (36) However, Candy cares for him deeply and holds great sentimental value towards him. Claiming that he has “had him since he was a pup” (44) and reminiscing about how “he was the best damn sheep dog in the world.” (44) It is very clear that Candy loves his dog and holds him in a high regard, however, the other ranch workers don’t see it in the same way. They claim that “he ain’t good to [Candy]” (44) and insist that he shoots him, as they do not understand the special bond they share. Even though the dog can no longer work on the ranch, he still brings happiness to Candy. When pressured to shoot his dog, Candy looked for sympathy from other workers, but received none, and his dog is killed. The death of his dog represents what’s left for those who are past their prime. The dog could no longer serve any practical purpose on the ranch, so others decided it was time for him to go. Much like in society how the elderly and disabled are simply tossed aside to live in squalor after it is decided that they no longer provide any benefit to the public. While what happened with Slim and Candy’s animals was tragic, these events are not only limited to …show more content…
Having lost his hand in a farming accident, his boss provided him with financial compensation, and a job as a swamper. However, he often feels isolated on the farm. After the death of his dog he feels threatened, claiming that, “Jus’ as soon as I can’t swamp out no bunkhouses they’ll put me out in the country" (60). He has fear for the future, knowing that after spending his life as a rancher, when the time comes that he can no longer ranch, he will be sent away and have nowhere to go. In addition to this, when George and Lennie discuss their “dream” with Candy, he offers a share of his money to purchase the land, and even promises to “cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some.” (59) showing his desire to continue to work and have somewhere where he belongs. This shows how many people who can no longer work have the strong desire to work and provide for themselves as they once did. However, many people who cannot work are often depicted as lazy or “leeches on

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