How are Carlson and Curley important to the ending "Of Mice and Men?"HELPPP

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, these two men (and especially Carlson) are important because they help point out an important message that Steinbeck is trying to get across by ending the story this way.

I think a major theme in the book is that people's dreams can be crushed by other people who do not understand them.  Carlson shows this in a number of ways in the book and at the end.

Earlier in the book Carlson pushes for Candy to kill his dog and then ends up doing it himself.  He does not understand the importance of love and companionship.  The same thing is shown in the last line of the book.  He does not understand why George is upset.

So the role of Carlson, at least, is to show how many people are insensitive to the emotions and dreams of others.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Also integral to the ending of the story is the fact that George has taken Carlson's gun, at that point unsure of whether he is going to need it to protect Lennie or to kill him himself.  The episode with Carlson killing Candy's dog is very important.  Candy says "I ought never o' let no stranger shoot my dog".  At least if George kills Lennie it will be painless and peaceful and he would not be afraid.

Curley has a grudge against Lennie anyway - he's a "big fella" and hurt Curley's hand, and embarrassed him in front of everyone.  George knows there's no way to stop Curley from killing Lennie, and takes matters into his own hands.