Of Mice & Men Section B
Steinbeck presents Candy as a vulnerable character in this passage. He does this by referencing him as an “old man” before giving his name, so that the reader instantly knows his physical state and that he is weak person. He is also shown to be desperate throughout the passage when he tries to make friends with George and Lennie as soon as he meets them. He gossips about other people on the ranch and makes sure George “won’t tell Curley nothing” he said, as he finds this the only way to keep the men talking to him. He is presented as a lonely character due to his lack of friends already on the ranch, so he feels it is necessary to get close to the new men, therefore needs to be welcoming and confident. He also familiarizes George and Lennie on all the other men on the ranch and gives his opinion to warn them, “Slim’s a jerkline skinner. Hell of a nice fella”. This way the two men are given first impressions on all the other men before they even meet, according to Candy’s point of view, so that they can agree with him and get along well. He instantly becomes a pivotal character in the novel due to his knowledge of all the people at the ranch. Finally, Steinbeck introduces Candy’s “ancient dog” in this passage, which symbolizes his position. Even though his dog is old and useless he is still alive with no purpose, just like Candy staying on the ranch with no hand as he cannot do any of the proper jobs except “settin’ out the wash basins”.
Steinbeck also uses the character of Candy to convey ideas about society in 1930s America. Candy is described as having a “round stick-like wrist but no hand” in his introduction into the novel. This outlines his physical weakness and inability to do difficult jobs, which most of the ranch consists of. Men that work there need to be tough and strong to carry out the jobs available and are not employed if they do not meet these requirements. However since Candy is an old man and knows all the current...
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