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Analyation of Candy in Of Mice and Men

In John Steinbecks novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck conveys the main themes, isolation, loneliness, and insecurity through many characters. One of the characters who best embody the theme(s) is Candy. Candy is an old, disabled, isolated, unhappy, lonely, insecure, swamper. Candys loneliness is greatly attributed to the loss of his hand and his age. He believes he is a worthless old man who, like his old dog, is just wasting away. Candy also offers much symbolism and parallelism to a few characters in the novel. Steinbeck also develops the character of Candy very well using characterization. Symbolism and foreshadowing are also used widely throughout the novel. Candy, an old, useless swamper exemplifies the main themes of this novel.
Steinbeck uses characterization to build up the description of Candy so well that the reader feels the isolation and loneliness of which Candy experiences everyday. Candy is an old, physically disabled swamper who has worked on the ranch for a good majority of his life. While working on the ranch a few years ago, Candy got into an accident which resulted in the loss of one of his hands. This unfortunate accident left him a little bit of money and whole lot of loneliness. As a result of Candys age and disability he has a feeling of uselessness. Since Candy feels that he is old, he places himself in a state of mind that disables him more than his missing hand ever will. A old worthless man wasting away his last few years is how Candy sees himself. He is often afraid of losing his job, as well as his whole life. “I got hurt four years ago. Theyll can me purty soon. Jus as soon as I cant swamp out no bunk houses theyll put me on the county.”
Candy, in many ways symbolizes his dog. Both Candy and his dog are very old and they are both coming towards the end of their lives. In their younger years, Candy and his dog were excellent workers. Candy loves his dog with all of his heart. It has been his best friend for years and according to Candy he has “Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him.” Even though the dog can no longer run as fast or herd sheep like he did when he was younger, Candy loves him the same. He appreciates all of the joy and loyalty that his once great dog has brought to him during his life and is ready to let his friend now live out the rest of its natural life. Unfortunately that is not the way that some of the other people in the bunkhouse see it. Carlson feels “This ol’ dog jus’ suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take him out and shoot him right in the back of the head… right there, why he’d never know what hit him. Carlson even offers to give him a new dog to replace the one that he is about to kill. The way that Candy sees it is that his dog isnt not hurting anyone and that there is no reason to have to end its life prematurely. Even though Candy loves his dog more than anything else in the world he chooses to let someone shoot his dog in the back of the head. After all that they had been through and all the years of loyal service that his supposed best friend had performed for Candy, when pressured into a decision, he chose to defy his loyal companion and make the decision on when he should die. This lets the reader know that Candy has such little respect for himself that he wont even stand up for what he believes is right. Candy knew that his dog had limited time left in his life, and after it dies, Candy would have no one to call a friend. He let Carlson kill his dog in hopes that the other workers would then give him the friendship and loyalty that his dog had provided him for years. If this happened, Candy would not have to spend the rest of his life