What is Steinbeck showing the reader through Candy's use of language in his reaction to Curley's wife's death?

Expert Answers
Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Curley’s wife dies, Candy realizes that Lennie will be arrested and put in prison, and George will most likely pursue his plans to find a place of his own. This also puts an end to Candy’s plan to join him, putting in half the money to buy the farm that has enough land to provide a living for them. Candy’s desperate questioning with carefully chosen language about George's intentions shows that he is not really insensitive to the death of Curley’s wife, but that it is also the death of his own dream. He asks George if the two of them can still keep on with their plans, not saying aloud that Lennie would not have been much help in the way of money or labor, but it is clear that it was he means. George, however, can only think of what he is going to do about Lennie. Candy agrees quickly to George’s plan to protect himself from being implicated in Curley’s wife’s death, hoping that this will obligate George in continuing their partnership. Whether or not that this will happen is left unclear at the end of the novel, as George just walks away from Lennie’s body, seemingly indifferent.