In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck conveys the main themes, isolation, loneliness, and insecurity through many characters. One of the characters who best embody the theme(s) is Candy. Candy is an old, disabled, isolated, unhappy, lonely, insecure, swamper. Candy’s loneliness is greatly attributed to the loss of his hand and his age. He believes he is a worthless old man who, like his old dog, is just wasting away. Candy also offers much symbolism and parallelism to a few characters in the novel. Steinbeck also develops the character of Candy very well using characterization. Symbolism and foreshadowing are also used widely throughout the novel. Candy, an old, useless swamper exemplifies the main themes of this novel.
Steinbeck uses characterization to build up the description of Candy so well that the reader feels the isolation and loneliness of which Candy experiences everyday. Candy is an old, physically disabled swamper who has worked on the ranch for a good majority of his life. While working on the ranch a few years ago, Candy got into an accident which resulted in the loss of one of his hands. This unfortunate accident left him a little bit of money and whole lot of loneliness. As a result of
Worthless and alone, Candy now felt he didn"tmt have a single important thing. He appreciates all of the joy and loyalty that his once great dog has brought to him during his life and is ready to let his friend now live out the rest of it"tms natural life. This lets the reader know that Candy has such little respect for himself that he won"tmt even stand up for what he believes is right. As much as their deaths are similar, they are totally different. Candy"tms poor old dog was led out by a stranger and shot in the back of the head. " Candy was attempting to overcome his loneliness and regain a positive outlook by looking for which would enable him to get involved with other ranchers. After all that they had been through and all the years of loyal service that his supposed best friend had performed for Candy, when pressured into a decision, he chose to defy his loyal companion and make the decision on when he should die. A old worthless man wasting away his last few years is how Candy sees himself. I shouldn"tmt ought to let no stranger shoot my dog. " This is one of Candy"tms desperate attempts to find a place in society and meaning in life. This is why Candy tried so hard to gain the attention and friendship of Lennie and George. It is also ironic that the reason Candy got involved in the dream is because of the death of a friend (his dog). Their dream is to own and run their own little ranch where they "can live off the fat of the land. " Even though the dog can no longer run as fast or herd sheep like he did when he was younger, Candy loves him the same.