In the end, why don't George and Candy still buy the ranch after Lennie is gone in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck?

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The logical thing for George to do would be to find a wife, not some old man with one hand who would be doing the housework and a little gardening. George is young, strong, industrious, capable. He might be able to find a widow who owned her own farm and would be delighted to have a man to take over all the hard outdoor work (like the character played by Tim Holt in the 1948 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre). Or George might be able to find an unmarried woman who had a few hundred dollars saved up. After all, he only needed six hundred dollars to buy a little farm in those days. If he had a wife he would soon have children and be living a normal life on his own property. This was the common pattern all over America. I am reminded of Knut Hamsun's novel Growth of the Soil, a marvelous book by a Nobel prize-winning author. The protagonist developed some land in Norway and built his own house. It wasn't long before he had a wife to share the place with him and to share the labor.

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Steinbeck makes a point of establishing that George and Lennie are exceptional in the fact that they travel around together and work as partners. Candy tells George about how the migrant workers are footloose and unpredictable. He illustrates his theme by telling about how one man just packed up and left because he didn't like the food. George and Lennie are getting jobs on the ranch because two men have just quit and moved on. They work for a while and then decide on the spur of the moment to collect their wages, pack their few belongings, and hit the road. Slim tells George essentially the same thing.

"Funny how you an' him string along together. . . . Hardly none of the guys ever travel together. I hardly never seen two guys travel together. You know how the hands are, they just come in and get their bunk and work a month, and then they quit and go out alone."

As Slim says, George already knows how the hands are. He has had plenty of experience living and working with men like these. So from at least three characters' points of view the reader is informed that the vast majority of these migrant workers are loners and drifters. Evidently it was Steinbeck's intention to preclude the possibility of George considering finding a substitute for his friend Lennie and going ahead with the project of buying a small piece of farmland with a house on it. Anyone else he took into the partnership might be likely to get bored and restless or quarrelsome and just go back on the road practically overnight.

There would be no future in a little subsistence farm. Three men living together would have to be philosophers to endure the monotony. They would have nothing to do but work, eat and sleep. Most of their food would come out of the soil. They might eat a chicken or a rabbit occasionally. The cooking would probably be pretty bad. It was...

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veronica12398 | Student

The reason I believe they do not get the ranch is because it was a dream shared between Lennie and George it was their dream. George thought of it but Lennie like a child keeps the dream going. It is like when you tell a child you are going somewhere and what you are going to do they count down the days and remind you of it always. So, when Lennie died there was no need to keep the dream alive, there was no one who could share the dream with george as Lennie had. George was like Lennie's dad and worked to make sure they had money for the dream, and Lennie as the child kept the dream alive. I believe this is what George needed too someone that needed him to dream like them.

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