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What methods does Steinbeck use to present Candy?
Throughout `Of Mice and Men' Steinbeck uses different methods such as physical description, reactions and dialogue
to present Candy as a lonely weak old man who knows he is likely to follow the sad death of his pet sheepdog who
was shot by another ranch worker. Steinbeck shows however that the dream of owning a small patch of land
between Candy, George and Lennie makes Candy's attitude to his life change and he gains more strength.
When the reader first meets Candy in the book Steinbeck does not use his name, instead he calls him the `Old
Swamper'. Steinbeck describes Candy as a `tall stoop-shouldered old man' who has a `round stick-like wrist, but no
hand'. Steinbeck doesn't give Candy a name at the beginning to indicate that Candy is of little importance on the
ranch, he is not always regarded as an individual but just as another general labourer. The physical description by
Steinbeck highlights to the reader that Candy is old and weak and the stump presents him as disadvantaged.
Steinbeck uses Candy to show that all of the ranch workers mind their own business when Candy says `A guy on a
ranch don't never listen nor he don't ast no questions'. Steinbeck uses the statement to indicate the loneliness and
isolation of living on a ranch and of how Candy has lived his whole life; without having anyone to talk to.
Steinbeck uses actions to show that Candy is scared of Curley and what Curley could do when Candy `looked
cautiously at the door to make sure no one was listening'. Steinbeck shows that Candy is scared that Curley could hurt
him or get him sacked.
Steinbeck further emphasises Candy's loneliness in a conversation between George and Candy when Candy tells
George about Curley and says to him `Don't tell Curley I said no of this'. Steinbeck uses this conversation to show that
Candy is desperate to make friends so confides in George straight away to gain his trust. Steinbeck shows that a
possible friendship could form between them through the reaction of Curley when he was `reassured' that he `had
drawn a derogatory statement from George'. Steinbeck shows that Candy relaxes within the company of friends.
Steinbeck uses animal metaphors and imagery to foreshadow what could happen to Candy. Steinbeck uses imagery
such as `rubbed his bristly white whiskers' to make Candy appear like a dog. This not only makes Candy seem like an
animal and not a human so makes him seem less important on the ranch but also links Candy to his dog. Steinbeck's
description of Candy's dog, `a drag footed sheepdog, grey of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes', highlights the
age of Candy's dog and it's uselessness.
Steinbeck shows the relationship of Candy and his dog through Candy's defence of his dog when he says `God he was
a good sheepdog when he was younger'. Steinbeck shows that the Candy is proud of his dog because he is his only
proper companion and is what keeps he from being incredibly lonely.
Steinbeck shows the other ranch workers' opinion of the dog through the character Carlson. Carlson says to Candy
`shoot him right in the back of the head'. Steinbeck shows that none of the other characters really cares for Candy;
otherwise they wouldn't be killing his only companion when they know how much he loves his dog. This again
highlights Candy's loneliness. Steinbeck also uses this scene to foreshadow Candy's death, the link between Candy
and his dog shows that, as Candy is beginning to become old and useless like his dog, the men on the ranch will
neither care for his feelings and will just get rid of him like they did with Candy's dog once he is of no more use.
Steinbeck shows Candy's weakness and lack of authority through his reaction to the idea of his dog being shot when
he replies pitifully `maybe tomorra' and looks helplessly at Slim for help then gives up and lets them shoot the dog.
Steinbeck shows that Candy is a weak character without any authority that doesn't stand up for his companion.
Through the lack of help from the other characters, Steinbeck also shows that it's unlikely anyone will stand up for
Candy when it his time to be gotten rid of.
Steinbeck presents Candy's dream and hopes when the character interrupts an overheard conversation between
Lennie and George about their dream. Steinbeck shows that Candy sees George and Lennie's plan as an escape from
the life he's been living when he responds `excitedly' to their idea and through the character's action of `leaning
forward eagerly' show he's interested in the idea. Steinbeck shows through Candy's dialogue that Candy is worried
about staying on the farm because he knows he'll be kicked out when he's of no more use but that if the character
went with George and Lennie then he might be looked after nicely. We see this when Candy tells George `You'll let
me hoe in the garden even after I ain't no good at it'. Through this speech Steinbeck also shows that Candy respects
and likes George and Lennie, he regards them as people who will treat him nicely. Here, Candy is clearly warming to
George and Lennie as he sees them as possible friends.
Steinbeck shows the start of the change in the Candy's attitude once the character has the hope of a better life. The
character says to George `I ought to have shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to have let no stranger
shoot my dog'. The dialogue shows that Candy realises that he should have stuck up and been more loyal to his dog.
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Steinbeck further presents a change in Candy through his reactions to two events. The first event is in the bunk house
when a fight breaks out between Curly and the ranch workers. Steinbeck showed us previously through conversation
with George, as discussed earlier, that Candy was scared of Curly but in this scene Candy `joined the attack with joy'.
Through these actions Steinbeck has shown the reader that Candy has gained a new confidence and is no longer
accepting being treated like a downgraded citizen.…read more