What role does Candy play at the ranch in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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Candy is the old swamper character in Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. A "swamper" is in charge of keeping the bunkhouse clean and doing minor maintenance on the ranch where George and Lennie come to work. "Swamping" literally means washing out the building. When he is first introduced...

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Candy is the old swamper character in Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. A "swamper" is in charge of keeping the bunkhouse clean and doing minor maintenance on the ranch where George and Lennie come to work. "Swamping" literally means washing out the building. When he is first introduced he is carrying a broom in his left hand and is missing his right hand which he lost in a work related accident. In chapter three, he says,

“I ain’t much good with on’y one hand. I lost my hand right here on this ranch. That’s why they give me a job swampin’." 

He is a pivotal character for two reasons. When Carlson shoots his old dog, Candy laments,

“I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn’t ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.”

The incident provides foreshadowing for George's actions later toward Lennie. Candy also joins the dream of owning a "little piece of land" as he is willing to contribute money toward the purchase of the farm that George knows about. For a short time, it appears that George, Lennie and Candy (and for a short time Crooks) might go off to their own place and be their own bosses. Unfortunately, the dream ends when Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife and George is forced to kill his friend. 

 
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