Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, is
a story which shows how weak the human trait of loyalty can be if put through
the test of time. It shows how people can turn on their family, best friend,
and even their life-long companions if they are presented with the opportunity
for advancement in life. This novel shows the reader the true animalistic
nature of all humans through the use of highly developed characters as
well a thoroughly developed story line.

George is not a strong man physically,
but what he is lacking physically he makes up for in his mentality. Although
his abundance of mental strength does not become apparent until later in
the story, it is fairly obvious from the beginning that his physical strength
is lacking. Lennie, on the other hand, is physically "strong as a bull"(22),
according to George, but mentally is a weak as George is physically. Together,
as they travel from place to place looking for their chance at making their
dream a reality, they use each other's strong points to help them complete
the task. Without one another the two characters would have absolutely
no chance at success, for what one is lacking the other has an ample amount
of. George and Lennie are the perfect example of how opposites attract.

The two of them have spent the majority
of their adult lives together and know each other better than they know
anybody else in the entire world. They share their hard times and the good,
their victories and their defeats, but most importantly they share a common
dream. That dream is of having "a little house and a couple of acres an'
a cow and some pigs an' live off the fatta the lan'"(14), where Lennie
can take care of the rabbits just as George has been taking care of him
over the years. This is Lennie's chance to pay George back for all of the
kindness that he has had bestowed upon him out of his true love and loyalty
towards George.

When they arrive at the ranch where they
will be working the first person that they meet is an older gentleman named

Candy. Candy has lived a long and hard life on the ranch and has nothing
to show for it. During his time on the ranch he has lost his hand, grown
old, and feels that he has become worthless. The name "Candy" is an interesting
one for this character though. When you think of candy you see children
eating it while running around in the yard having a good time without a
care in the world. This is the exact opposite of what the character in
the novel is. The restless demon of age has caught up with him and he is
not able to move as fast as he once did; even his dog is unable to ward
off the negative effects of time.

Candy loves his dog with all of his heart;
it has been his best friend for years and according to Candy he has "Had
him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him." (44) Even though he cannot
run as fast as in his prime or herd sheep like he did when he was younger

Candy loves him just the same. 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 his natural life. Unfortunately
that is not the way that some of the other people in the room see it. Carlson
feels "This ol' dog jus' suffers hisself all the time. If you was to take
him out and shoot him right in the back of the head... right there, why
he'd never know what hit him"(45). Carlson even offers to give him a new
dog to replace the one that he is about to destroy. The way that Candy
sees it is that he is not hurting anyone and that there is no reason to
have to end his life prematurely. Even though Candy loves his dog more
than anything else in the world he chooses to let someone shoot his dog
in the back of the head. 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.