Of Mice and Men

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Candy's Dog Symbol Analysis

Candy's Dog Symbol Icon
Candy's once powerful sheepdog is now old and useless. Carlson's killing of the dog makes it clear that during the Depression only the strong survive. The way in which Carlson kills the dog—with a gunshot to the back of the head—foreshadows Lennie's death and likens Lennie to Candy's dog: they're both powerless, innocent, and doomed.

Candy's Dog Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below all refer to the symbol of Candy's Dog. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 3 Quotes
"Carl's right, Candy. That dog ain't no good to himself. I wisht somebody'd shoot me if I got old an' a cripple."
Related Characters: Slim (speaker), Candy, Carlson
Related Symbols: Candy's Dog
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

Candy,  an old swamper on the ranch who lost his hand to a machine, has an old dog whom he adores. However, the other men whom he bunks with complain that it is useless and smelly. When Slim's dog gives birth to a littler of puppies, Carlson proposes that he put Candy's dog out of its misery and replace it with a puppy. In this quote, Slim agrees. He attempts to sympathize with the dog by saying that if he were "old an' a cripple," he would want someone to shoot him, but unfortunately, this statement seems to bear more resemblance to Candy's situation: he is no longer an efficient worker due to his age and disability, but he has kept his job out of pity from the boss. The fact that all the workers get together to convince Candy that he should let his dog go makes Candy nervous that he, too, will one day be ousted--or worse--for a younger worker. 


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I ought to of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't ought to of let no stranger shoot my dog.
Related Characters: Candy (speaker), George Milton
Related Symbols: Candy's Dog
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
Overpowered by the collective agreement of the men that his dog needed to be shot, Candy reluctantly consents to letting Carlson shoot it outside. In this quote, Candy tells George that he regrets not shooting the dog himself. Of course, Candy would have never even thought to kill the dog due to old age if he hadn't been egged on by the other men. Candy reared the dog since it was a pup, and was very attached to it. He feels residual guilt for not killing the dog himself due to this attachment, even though he would never have had the courage to put a gun to the old dog's head. Much of this guilt and regret is related to the fact that Candy feels that he has little control over his life on the ranch. Due to his age and disability, he has no other job prospects, and worries that his employment will abruptly end one day when the boss decides he is a financial burden. Even though it would have been incredibly painful for him to kill his own dog, it would have at least given him a degree of control in his life. 
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Candy's Dog Symbol Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the symbol Candy's Dog appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...next morning. At the bunkhouse, an old man with no right hand and a crippled dog greets them. His name is Candy. He says the boss was angry when they didn't... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Carlson, another ranch hand, introduces himself to George and Lennie, then asks Slim about his dog. Slim says she gave birth to nine puppies, but that he had to drown four... (full context)
Part 3
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...to return the puppy to its litter. While Lennie is gone, Candy and his crippled dog enter the bunkhouse, followed by Carlson. Carlson again suggests they put the dog out of... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...a ranch hand they once knew. Meanwhile, Carlson persuades Candy to let him shoot the dog. He takes the dog outside. As the men play cards, a shot fires. Candy stares... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...to keep the farm a secret. Candy whispers back that he should have shot his dog himself. (full context)