Who is Candy in Of Mice and Men? - Description & Quotes

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  • 0:03 Who Is Candy?
  • 0:36 Character as a Plot Device
  • 2:01 Dreams
  • 2:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has a bachelor's degree in literature and religious studies and a master's degree in religious studies and teaches Hebrew Bible at Western Kentucky University.

In this lesson, we'll discuss Candy, a minor character from ''Of Mice and Men'' and examine how his relationship with his dog acts as a plot device to foreshadow Lennie's death.

Who Is Candy?

In John Steinbeck's 1937 novella Of Mice and Men, we are first introduced to Candy when George and Lennie move into the bunkhouse on the ranch and immediately feel sorry for Candy, who's described as a 'tall, stoop-shouldered old man' who is missing his right hand from an accident on the ranch. Candy is friendly and talkative, and despite the fact that he is afraid of losing his job because of his physical impairment, he is still hopeful he will be able to have his own stake in the future. Candy has his dog, who is also old and crippled, to keep him company.

Character as a Plot Device

Steinbeck created Candy to act as a plot device for Of Mice and Men. Candy and his dog act as foreshadowing for the end of the story. Foreshadowing is a literary device that uses clues in the text to subtly let the reader know what's going to happen. The dog is useless, and his ailing health and increasing age make him miserable. Carlson tells Slim his thoughts about the dog, saying, 'That dog of Candy's is so God damn old he can't hardly walk. Stinks like hell, too. Ever time he comes into the bunk house I can smell him for two, three days.' When Carlson recommends that Candy shoot the dog to put it out of its misery, Candy resists because the dog is the barrier between him and loneliness.

Candy and his dog provide a parallel to George and Lennie: Candy and George are both responsible for looking after someone who cannot take care of themselves and cause problems - discomfort in the dog's case or harm in Lennie's case. Both Candy and George are separated from loneliness throughout the story by their companion, and both are hesitant to kill their companion, even for his own good.

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