Notes on Candy (of Mice and Men)

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Candy's realistic fears of failure fuel his dreams; however, although he fears failure, his insecurities actually make him extremely successful and receiving empathy from the reader. Candy is the oldest character in Of Mice and Men. He is immensely kind to everyone and never tries to gain respect through fear. Not only is he old, he is handicapped as he is missing one of his hands. With this in mind, he realizes that it is very hard to secure himself a stable job when he is already old and handicapped, “I ain't much good with on'y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. S'pose I went in with you guys. They'll can me purty soon. Jus' as soon as I can't swamp out no bunk houses they'll put me on the country”. This realistic fear of the future is justifiable as Candy is just another man who needs to figure out how to make his living during the Great Depression. Once Candy hears about George and Lennie's ranch dream, he is instantly hopeful for the future, as he thinks that he will succeed. Because of Candy's old age and kindness, the reader cannot help but feel empathy for Candy because his fear is understandable and is one that everyone in the world encounters. When George and Lennie promise Candy a share of the land, Candy perks up immediately, "Candy cried, 'Sure they all want it. Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. I never had none. But we gonna do it now, and don't make no mistake about that'. He stopped, overwhelmed with his picture". Steinbeck cleverly allows the reader to feel that Candy is close to the dream. He has the money, and he has people who are willing to help him. At this point, Candy's fears have been temporarily assuaged. Naturally at this point, the reader cannot help but feel hopeful for Candy as he is so close to success. Of course, Steinbeck once again pulls a hand at Candy's fate when he shatters Candy's one hope, "He looked helplessly back at Curley's wife, and gradually his sorrow and his anger grew into words. ’You...
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