Compare the episodes in which candy's dog and lennie die.  How has Steinbeck made these events effective to the reader?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For Steinbeck both the death of Candy's dog and of Lennie represents how the world can represents a sense of cold cruelty.  Steinbeck creates both of them as almost a necessary fact of consciousness in the world.  In both situations, the forces of the outside world silence the individual.  Candy's dog dies because of voices advocate it or no one cares enough to speak out against it in a defiant manner.  Lennie dies because the will of the community is far too strong to repel it.  Steinbeck creates this sense of hopelessness in Candy's dog's death.  There is "the silence," the fact that Whit's idle chatter permeates the moments between Carlson taking the dog outside and shooting it, and Candy's own wrestling with the pain of his dog being killed and not being able to do anything about it.  In Lennie's death, there is a bit more softness.  Steinbeck is able to construct a sense of care in what George must do, in terms of how he "forgives" Lennie, comforts him, and talks about their shared dream, something that had been in the works for so long and at the end acquires a sad melancholy to it.  In both killings, Steinbeck depicts the harshness of reality and how, despite good intentions, the pursuit of dreams and of self- interest comes with a price and cost.

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