Of Mice and Men: Hierarchy Within the Ranch

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Hierarchy within the ranch

Candy is the first character from the ranch that is introduced within the book. As a swamper, his role is to clean up in the ranch, therefore meaning he is not of much importance. Steinbeck offers a brief description of Candy, revealing to us that he is old and has lost one hand. Other than that, Steinbeck does not go into great detail regarding Candy as he does with the other characters, which does not give much away. This could simply mean that Candy is merely another worker in the ranch and is not of a high position within the hierarchy. However, the way in which he retells stories of what occurred in the ranch to George and Lennie gives the impression that Candy has been in the ranch for a long time and knows of what goes on. E.g. ‘know what he done Christmas? Brang a gallon of whisky right in here’. Boss:

As the boss, he is obviously at the top of the ranch hierarchy. His clothing further emphasises his high position e.g. ‘he wore high heeled boots and spurs’. The apprehensive way in which Candy behaved around the boss also signals his high position. E.g. ‘shuffled to the door rubbing his whiskers with his knuckles as he went’. Candy was wary of the boss and was effectively ‘walking on eggshells’ when around the boss. Curley:

One of the very first things we are told about Curley is that, like the boss, he wore high heeled boots which, in this book, seems to symbolise a certain degree of wealth and a high status. He clearly has an aggressive streak (e.g. ‘His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious’) and behaves in a very hostile manner towards George and Lennie. E.g. ‘His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists’. Being the boss’ son he, inevitably, is of a high position in the ranch. Not higher than the boss, but still high. Curley’s wife:

Upon entering, Curley’s wife cut off the rays of sunshine into the bunk. This almost immediately signals that she is going to be trouble. She wore...
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