What is the significance of Candy and his dog throughout the story?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candy's relationship with his dog is significant to the novella because it mirrors and foreshadows George and Lennie's relationship. Both Candy and his dog are old and have outlived their use on the ranch. Carlson urges Candy to put his dog down, but Candy continually puts it off until Carlson eventually kills the dog. When Candy's dog dies, he is emotionally wounded. Similar to Candy's loyal but useless dog who is eventually shot, Lennie blindly follows George and has been his longtime friend. Unfortunately, Lennie accidentally kills Curley's wife, and George is forced to shoot his best friend to spare him from the brutal lynch mob. Candy and his dog's relationship also illuminates two significant themes throughout the novella. Steinbeck examines how only the strong and vibrant survive in harsh environments, and portrays how personal relationships are important to maintain.