How Do You Think Steinbeck Uses the Character of Candy in the Novel as a Whole to Convey Important Ideas About Society at That Time? Essay

456 WordsFeb 10, 20132 Pages
Candy is ‘a tall, stoop-shouldered old man. He was dressed in blue jeans’, the uniform of the ranch workers, ‘and carried a big push-broom in his left hand.’ His right hand is stated as simply a stump because he lost his hand in a ranch accident. Now the owners of the ranch keep him on as long as he can ‘swamp’ out or clean the bunkhouse. Candy gives Steinbeck an opportunity to discuss social discrimination based on age and disabled people during the time of the Great Depression. Candy represents what happens to everyone who gets old in American society: They are let go, canned, and thrown out of their jobs were they expected to look after themselves. Candy shows this by presenting his greatest fear as that once he is no longer able to help with the cleaning he will be ‘disposed of.’ Just like his old dog, he has lived beyond his usefulness. Carson makes clear when he insists that Candy let him put the dog out of its misery. Candy’s dog serves as a harsh reminder of the fate that awaits anyone who outlives his usefulness. Though the pet was once a great sheepdog, it was put out to pasture once it stopped being productive. Candy realizes that his fate is to be put on the roadside as soon as he’s no longer useful on the ranch, he won’t be treated any differently than his dog. In 1930’s America there was no welfare system for the older generation as they were expected to take care of themselves. Candy and his dog parallel the relationship of George and Lennie. Like Candy's dog, Lennie depends on George to take care of him and show him what to do. Candy, like George, is different from the other ranch hands because he has his dog as a constant companion, someone devoted and loyal to him. That at the time the novel is set, most men were alone as they didn’t have the company of another and so they were lonely and drawn into themselves. Candy takes such a shine to George
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