In essence, John Steinbeck`s book “Of Mice and Men” is a story that enlighten the nature of American dreams and aspirations as well as the forces which work against dreams. Human beings give meaning to others lives and their lives as well as their own futures by creating dreams. Without goals and dreams, life is a boundless stream of years that have little meaning or connection. This paper identifies one character – Candy – in the book and explore the choices he made and how such choices influenced their own fate. Candy chose to work in the ranch and to let his old dog be killed.
Even though he opted to spend the better part of his life just working on somebody else’s ranch, he ended up losing his hand. He also ends up with little money. After losing his hand, the ranch`s owners decided to keep him provided he can clean the bunkhouse or “swamp” out. Candy gives Steinbeck the chance to address social discrimination that occur due to age and disability. Candy represents what everyone who becomes old in America experiences: They are released from duties, thrown out, and used up. The greatest fear that Candy has is that once he will no longer be capable of cleaning he will definitely be “disposed of.” Like his own old dog, he shall have lived beyond his worthiness. Terrified that his age will make him useless, Candy seizes on George’s portrayal of the land he and Lennie are expecting to own, giving his life’s savings provided he can join Lennie and George in owning the farm.
Candy’s dog, at one time, was a good sheepherder, however it was gotten rid of once it ceased being productive. Candy grasps that his fate in fact similarly to his dog`s and he will soon be taken to the roadside the moment he stop being useful; his ranch employer will not treat him contrarily to his dog. Candy is in fact worse off: contrary to his dog, Candy is emotionally devastated by the whole thing. He cannot even bring himself to hit his pet by himself. He is even “squirming” uneasily when he mention about it: “Well-hell! I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup” (Steinbeck, 56). Perhaps this is the fear which keeps him away from making anything tangible of his life. Candy cannot stand up and defend his pet since he cannot also stand up and defend himself.
What surprises the reader is that Candy still want to change “Lennie and George`s dream” into “Lennie, George and Candy’s dream” even though he still faces the reality of futility. As Candy tries to assist the men realize their American dream, he also reminds the two of the possibility that their dream will eventually fail – symbolized by Candy`s failure to shoot his own dog. Candy says in the book, “I ought to of shot that dog myself,” he tells George: “I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog” (Steinbeck, 234). Perhaps Candy is the book’s truly tragic figure. That is, after Lennie murders Curley’s wife and everybody realizes that their dream is broken, Lennie is left pondering about his future rabbits while George mourns the reality that he’s closer to killing his best friend. However, Candy is left to symbolize the misery of reaching the dead end of a very long, hard-working life but still being far from the American dream. Candy feels isolated after losing his arm and arm. He feels unable to survive. Being a part and parcel of Lenny and George`s dream is the remaining way to get some happiness. In the book, we see what Steinbeck writes of Candy: “a guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions” (67). In the Candy`s quote, we see a fairly good example of an isolated individual: a person who does not ask any question and a person who does not listen.
In summary, Candy chose to work in the ranch and get rid of his old dog. Choices which do not bring him joy late in life. Afraid of being released from work when he gets very old, he offers his entire life savings just to become part and parcel of Lennie and George`s dream. His life companion was an equally old dog that stinks and so he allowed Carlson to get rid of it. Candy regrets not having killed the dog himself and he struggles to get his goals right. John Steinbeck`s book “Of Mice and Men” is a tale of the nature of American dreams and aspirations as well as the forces which work against dreams. As human beings we give meaning to others lives and our lives as well as our own futures just by having dreams. Candy had his dreams too and but the choices he made were the forces that thwarted his dreams.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. London: Penguin, 2000. Internet resource.