In Of Mice and Men, Candy is an old farm hand who is worried about what the future holds. He knows that soon he will no longer be able to keep up with his work on the farm. He is old and disabled, having lost his hand in a...
In Of Mice and Men, Candy is an old farm hand who is worried about what the future holds. He knows that soon he will no longer be able to keep up with his work on the farm. He is old and disabled, having lost his hand in a farm accident; he is feeling “used up.” Candy knows that soon he will be asked to leave the farm when he is no longer able to keep up with his swamper (handyman) duties. He will have nowhere to go and won’t be able to get any more jobs. When his dog, who is similarly old and “used up,” is taken outside and shot, Candy, who loved the dog and still saw value in the dog, is devastated, and he sees a similar fate for himself.
So when Candy overhears George and Lennie discussing their dream of buying their own land and being their own boss, he is eager to join in. He tells them he has money saved up from working plus the money he was given when he lost his hand. His money makes the dream suddenly possible. If they all save their money, they could have enough to buy their own land in one month. Suddenly the future is no longer lonely and bleak.
By the end of the book, however, the dream is gone. When Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, George and Candy are shocked. Candy feels sorry for Lennie and what will happen to him, knowing Curley’s desire for revenge. But Candy also tries to convince George to hang on to their disappearing dream.
“You an’ me can get that little place, can’t we George” (94).
He repeats the question three times, begging George to continue with their plans, before giving up, knowing the answer. He will never get the chance to move to their own place with his friends and live out the rest of his days in peace. He will never get the chance to work in the garden and wash dishes, pitching in with odd jobs as best he can, still feeling valued and not alone.
When George leaves the barn, Candy is alone with Curley’s dead wife. His sorrow turns to anger as he addresses her, accusing her of ruining everything, all of the good things they had planned. And he reminisces one last time about the dream (“a pig and chickens…. the little fat stove…. an’ us jus’ settin’ there”) until
his eyes blinded with tears and he turned and went weakly out of the barn (96).