Why didn't Candy go into town with the rest of the men?

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mercut1469's profile pic

mercut1469 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Candy is the old swamper character in John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men. He is described as old and missing a hand. In chapter four, the reader learns that most of the men, including George, have gone into Soledad for the night. In the preceding chapter, the laborer Whit had informed George that there were two whorehouses in the town and that he liked to go there on Saturday nights. George tells Whit that he would probably go in and have a shot of whiskey but wasn't willing to pay for a "flop." Lennie, Crooks and Candy are left behind. Candy stays at the ranch for two discernible reasons. First, he suggests earlier in the book that he is simply too old for such things. After discussing the fight between "Smitty" and Crooks he tells George, "After that the guys went into Soledad and raised hell. I didn’t go in there. I ain’t got the poop no more.” The "poop" refers to the idea that Candy no longer has the energy to drink and carouse like the younger men. Second, he is busy making plans for the time when he and George and Lennie go to their farm. He tells Lennie that he has "been figuring about them rabbits." Candy suggests that they can make money with the rabbits, which Lennie, of course, is anxious to "tend."

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Candy in the short story "Of Mice and Men" is old, frail, and missing a hand.  He is no longer welcomed into the group of young men who go into the town to drink and have festivities. His presence is a reminder of they will one day become if they continue in their current jobs and lifestyle as ranch hands.  In many ways Candy is washed up.  He is no longer needed or desired as company.   He recognizes this in himself and no withdraws from the company of others until he meets Lennie and learns about Lennie and George's dream. It gives Candy hope which is something he has no felt in a long time. 

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