Candy and Crooks
In Of Mice and Men, the characters Candy and Crooks features at the bottom of the Tyler Ranch hierarchy. Throughout, the novella both Candy and Crooks are coherent with the themes of loneliness, friendship, dreams and the predatory nature exemplified in the microcosm of American society, that is the Tyler Ranch.
The reader is introduced to the characters of Candy within the initial parts of the novel. He appears as a ‘swamper’, one of the degraded jobs in the ranch he has earned, partly due to his age, as well as being incapacitated by his lost hand. It becomes apparent that he introduces most of the characters before they actually appear themselves. Candy is likewise used to identify and provide insight onto the lives of the ranch workers. When he shows George and Lennie the bunkhouse, he provides information such as the blacksmith named ‘Whitey’. It is also through Candy that the itinerant nature of the ranch life is emphasized with how the workers including the blacksmith leave for another ranch. Candy also provides first impressions of the characters such as Curley’s wife, initially describing her as ‘purty’ and then as a ‘tart’, while describing the boss as a ‘hell of a nice fella.’
The significance of Candy is illustrated through the death of his dog, which represents the end of Candy’s only true long-term relationship and portrays the ruthless era of 1930s America. In addition, Steinbeck likens the two relationships of George and Lennie, and Candy and his dog, by using a simile to compare Lennie to a dog ‘like a terrier who doesn’t want to give a ball back to his master.’ The death of the dog acts as a parallel and is significant as it foreshadows the death of Lennie, who similarly to the dog has a disability and stands no chance in the vicious circle of 1930s America.