How does Steinbeck present Candy in Of Mice and Men before, during and after the scene in which his dog is killed?

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

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Candy is shown to be relegated to the margins of the social circle as his dog is being taken out to be shot.  No one speaks in favor of keeping the dog alive.  When the dog is taken, Steinbeck uses the word "the silence" to indicate how no one speaks out against an act of cruelty.  When Candy lies in his bed after the dog has been led out by Carlson, Steinbeck describes him lying in a "rigid" way, almost as if a part of him has died with the dog being taken outside.  The idea of "rigid" also applies to the notion of how Candy's voice has been silenced by the demands of the group and how he could not advocate for that which he loved.  The "invasion" of "silence" also indicates how there is a level of marginalization whereby voices are not acknowledged and accepted, but pushed to the fringes of the social order.  When Candy hears the shot, he can can only turn to the wall, "roll over," and remain silent.  Steinbeck presents Candy as almost dead himself when he hears the shot that killed the dog.  In this, Steinbeck brings out the complex emotional dimensions of love and not standing up for those who one loves.

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