John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"

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Many people wish to realize the American Dream, lured by ideal that everyone could achieve success through hard work and determination. What many people don’t realize is that the path to achieving success is lined with obstacles and unknown loneliness. One novel, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, illustrates the story of different ranchers in Salinas Valley during the 1930s who live their life in pursuit of the American dream. Candy, a handicapped swamper, demonstrates how loneliness plagues people on the ranch.

Candy is a character who survives on the ranch by keeping out of people’s affairs, and is lonely due to his lack of family and friends.

One characteristic that defines Candy is that he knows to mind his own business. During one encounter, Candy overhears the conversation between George and Lennie which reveals how George had lied to the boss regarding Lennie being George’s cousin, when Lennie was not related to George. When George confronts Candy about eavesdropping, Candy responds by saying “A guy on a ranch don’t never listen nor he don’t ast no questions” (Steinbeck 24).

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It was clear that Candy has heard their conversation, and knows about George’s lie. His response reveals his preference to stay out of people’s affairs and mind his own business. In a sense, this ignorance is his belief that staying out of trouble is crucial for workers on the ranch since they’re so replaceable. Therefore, it is no surprise that Candy is one of the workers that has been working at the ranch for the longest.

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The brief exchange with George and Lennie illustrates Candy’s characteristic of minding his own business and staying out of trouble.

Another more subtle characteristic that describes Candy is loneliness. Candy is a lonely character because he doesn’t have any close friends or family members. His loneliness surfaces when he tells George and Lennie that “I’d make a will an’ leave my share to you guys in case I kick off, ‘cause I ain’t got no relatives or nothing…”(Steinbeck 59). In this quote, he outright admits that he has no relatives. Furthermore, there is a hint that points to his lack of friends. The key is that he only met Lennie and George for the first time a few days ago. His willingness to hand over his share to people who he had just recently implies that George and Lennie are his closest connections, and reveals how lonely Candy truly is. From Candy’s action and words, readers can sense his loneliness.

In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Candy is a character who minds his own business for survival on the ranch, and is a lonely character due to his lack of family and friends. Candy’s decision to act ignorant about George’s lie illustrates his tendency to stay out of trouble, as his sees that as the way to survive on the ranch. In addition, Candy’s loneliness is revealed through his willingness to transfer his share to George and Lennie, people who he had just met a few days ago. His action show that he has no connection with anyone else besides these two people he had just met recently, pointing to how lonely he truly is.

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John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men". (2022, Jan 24). Retrieved from

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