Candy is an old ranchworker who has lost a hand in a work accident and now works as a
swamper, or cleaner, on the ranch. He feels that as he is ageing he is useless and does not have any value as a person. This is reflected in the way that his dog is shot by Carlson. Before his death, Candy’s dog is his only real companion. This leads to him asking to be involved in George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own farm; he is willing to give all of his savings to these men who he has just met so that he can feel a part of something.
Candy feels that without a job, he has nothing to offer society.
You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs.
Candy’s dog is shot because it no longer serves a purpose, reflecting the harsh life that the men live, where there is no room for things that are not useful, and this extends to humans too. Candy suggests that he would rather die than be without a job, as he will have nowhere to live and no means of supporting himself.
Candy is alone in his sadness about the dog being shot; no one will stand up for him and say that his dog should be allowed to live.
Candy looked for help from face to face.
Candy’s searching for help is pointless because he does not get any from the men on the ranch. He does not feel able to defend his dog by saying that he is valued because he is a companion, as this is not seen as being worth anything on the ranch. The phrase
face to face suggests that all of the men are the same and have the same reaction; they are not behaving as individuals.
Candy is desperate to be involved in George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own farm because it will give him a place to belong, even when he is old and unable to work.
George half-closed his eyes.
I gotta think about that. We was always gonna do it by ourselves.Candy interrupted him,
I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ’cause I ain’t got no relatives or nothing...
Candy’s desperation is clear here as he offers to leave George and Lennie his share in the farm, which he would buy with all of his savings. He then makes it clear why he feels the need to create new bonds and friendship as he has no family and therefore no connections and no one to look after him when he cannot work any more.