In the book Of Mice and Men, what evidence does the old swamper give that the ranch boss is a "pretty good fella"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candy tells George that he just needs to talk to the boss right and he’s a nice fella, but his son is the one to watch out for.

Candy the swamper helps migrant farm workers George and Lennie feel right at home in their new jobs, giving them advice about the new boss. 

"He's a nice fella," the swamper agreed. "You got to take him right." (Ch. 2)

When the swamper Candy says that the boss is a good boss, but that you have to talk to him right, he is trying to set George’s mind at ease.  He lets George know that the boss’s son is the one to watch out for.

"That's the boss's son," he said quietly. "Curley's pretty handy. He done quite a bit in the ring. He's a lightweight, and he's handy." (Ch. 2)

He can tell that George is uncomfortable.  George is suspicious of authority in general and protective of Lennie.  He usually talks for Lennie, because if the boss finds out that Lennie is slow he might not let them work.  Although Lennie is not smart, he is strong and he is a good worker.  Candy lets George know that Curley is the one who is the real problem, not the boss.  When he tells him that he’s “handy” he is letting George know that Curly is ready for a fight.  This gives George a warning.  When Curley’s wife comes in, it is clear too that she is part of the problem because he gets into fights partly because of her.

George and Lennie really need this job.  They are desperate to keep it, because they dream of someday having their own land where they can be independent.  The ranch of their own where they can live off the fat of the land and Lennie can tend rabbits may sound silly, but having a home of their own is no small dream for migrant workers who never stay for more than a few months at a time in one place.  They never know what the boss will be like, or the boss’s son, or who will make trouble for them next.