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In Section three of “Of Mice and Men” we come to a significant part of the story where Carlson shoots Candy’s dog. From previous sections in the book, Steinbeck has made it evident that Candy’s dog is important to Candy. When we are first introduced to Candy and his dog, Steinbeck repeatedly describes both characters as “old”, showing how alike both are. “Old Candy, the swamper, came in and went to his bunk, and behind him struggled his old dog. ” In this sentence, the adjective used to describe both characters is “old”. This suggests the similarity between them, showing that they are both reaching nearer to the end of their life.
While Slim, George, Candy and his dog are in the bunk house, Carlson comes in and talks to Slim. He then complains about the smell of the dog. “God awmighty that dog stinks. Get him outta here, Candy! ” Carlson makes it clear that he doesn’t like the dog being in the bunk house as it brings a foul smell with it. But when Candy hears Carlson say this, he reaches over to pat his dog as if it is fully aware of what is being said. This action evinces that Candy is apologising to the dog on Carlson’s behalf. Candy treats his dog like a human as his dog is his only companion.
However, the workers at the ranch see him only as a dog. When Carlson mentions to Candy about shooting his dog, Candy’s actions and dialogues convey how Candy feels about this idea. “Candy looked about unhappily. ‘No,’ he said softly. ‘No, I couldn’t do that. I had him too long. ’ Candy is reluctant to let Carlson shoot his dog and we know this through the use of the adverb “unhappily”. Candy words make it evident that he is not ready to lose his only company. Candy purposefully tries to delay Carlson when he says, “You ain’t got no gun. ” He is hopeful that Carlson doesn’t have the necessary items to kill Candy’s dog with.
When the men hear the shot that marks the death of Candy’s dog, Candy’s reaction towards the death of his dog illustrates his emotions. “For a moment he continued to stare at the ceiling. Then he rolled slowly over and faced the wall and lay silent. ” This action symbolises an act of rejecting the outside world. Candy’s dog was his only way of staying happy. But now that his dog has been shot, he has nothing else in the world that is worth living for. During this conversation between Carlson and Candy, George interrupts. “George said, ‘I seen a guy in Weed that had an Airedale could herd sheep. Learned it from the other dogs.
’” George tries divert Carlson’s attention to a different topic. This indicates that George is attempting to assist Candy in saving his dog. George is being empathetic towards Candy as he might understand how Candy will feel when he loses his only companion. He is taking into account other’s feelings before his own. We see this previously in the book where George stands up for Lennie when Curley threatens him. George’s only companion is Lennie and he has travelled with Lennie in search of work for a very long time. George may be the only person who realises how difficult it will be for Candy if he found himself alone after a very long time.
As Carlson continuously encourages Candy to let him shoot Candy’s dog, Carlson turns to Slim for support. He asks Slim, “I bet Slim would give you one of his pups to raise up, wouldn’t you, Slim? ” From previous descriptions in the book, the audience is aware that Slim is an influential character in the novel. Steinbeck makes a direct judgement about him unlike he does with the other characters in the book. Steinbeck describes him as “Majestic” and “Prince of the ranch”. Nearing the death of Candy’s dog, Steinbeck once again shows us the importance of Slim’s character at the ranch when Carlson asks for Slim’s opinion on the matter.
When Slim agrees with Carlson that Candy’s dog should be shot Candy look’s helplessly at Slim: “Candy looked helplessly at him, for Slim’s opinions were law. ” Steinbeck yet again directly informs the reader that Slim’s opinions are not taken lightly but seriously by the men on the ranch. It is clear that the men on the ranch constantly have respect for Slim and they do as Slim says. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.