In Chapter 4, what does Candy say to Crooks and Lennie about the dream of the land? What is Steinbeck saying about economic exploitation?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Candy walks into Crooks's room, he begins telling Lennie that he has their plan figured out and has come up with a way to make some money off of the rabbits they plan on tending. Crooks responds to Candy's optimism by saying that he has heard hundreds of ranchers...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

When Candy walks into Crooks's room, he begins telling Lennie that he has their plan figured out and has come up with a way to make some money off of the rabbits they plan on tending. Crooks responds to Candy's optimism by saying that he has heard hundreds of ranchers talk about someday owning land and has never witnessed any person live out their dream. Crooks proceeds to give Candy and Lennie examples of men who shared the same dream but squandered all of their money on booze and women. Candy responds to Crooks by saying,

Sure they all want it. Everybody wants a little bit of land, not much. Jus' som'thin' that was his. Som'thin' he could live on and there couldn't nobody throw him off of it. I never had none. I planted crops for damn near ever'body in this state, but they wasn't my crops, and when I harvested 'em, it wasn't none of my harvest (Steinbeck 37).

Candy's comments reflect Steinbeck's message regarding how wealthy farms exploit poor itinerant farmers. The powerful farms pay the itinerant workers low wages for short periods of time so that the workers never have the opportunity to save enough money to purchase their own property. Given the extremely high price of land, itinerant ranchers cannot save enough of their money to own their own homesteads.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This section of the novel comes after Lennie has entered Crooks' room and told him about the dream of owning a piece of the land and, of course, the rabbits. Crooks is cruelly dismissive of Lennie's dream, and torments Lennie with different ways of how it might not work out, But then Candy comes in, wanting to speak to Lennie, having thought carefully about it. He is fiercely passionate and possessive of this dream as he declares to Crooks in response to his doubt:

"But we gonna do it now, and don't make no mistake about hat. George ain't got the money in town. That money's in teh bank. Me an' Lennie an' George. We gonna have a room to ourself. We're gonna have a dog an' rabbits an' chickens. We're gonna have green corn an' maybe a cow or a goat."

Candy's speech is so compelling that it even manages to convince Crooks that they are going to achieve it, so he decides to "buy in" on the scheme as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team