Of Mice and Men

Candy’s Dog Symbol Analysis

Candy’s Dog Symbol Icon

The dog of Candy, the elderly, disabled swamper on the ranch in Soledad, is a parallel to Candy himself as well as to the relationship between George and Lennie. After losing his hand in an accident several years ago, Candy has been allowed to stay on, but is relegating to doing odd jobs devoid of physical labor. Similarly, Candy’s dog, which he has raised from puppyhood, was once a star sheep herder—now, though, Candy’s dog is old, lame, and blind, and carries with it a horrible stench everywhere it goes. On the evening of George and Lennie’s arrival on the ranch, Carlson, another laborer, decides that enough is enough, and all but forces Candy into letting him put the dog back outside using his pistol. Candy’s reluctance to put down the dog reflects George’s own reluctance to abandon and ultimately kill Lennie—George is attached to his mentally-disabled friend despite the very real danger and liability of Lennie’s weaknesses in much the same way Candy is attached to the dog despite its nuisances. Candy eventually relents, however, just as George eventually relents to putting Lennie out of certain misery by shooting him at the end of the novella. Candy enters a silent state of dissociation as he listens to his best friend’s execution. For Candy, his dog ultimately represents Candy’s fear of being singled out for his own weakness—and, more largely, the unforgiving atmosphere at the ranch (and across the American West during the Depression more generally), which favors the strong and despises the weak.

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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:
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“Maybe it’d hurt him,” [Candy] suggested. “I don’t mind takin’ care of him.”

Carlson said, “The way I’d shoot him, he wouldn’t feel nothing. I’d put the gun right there.” He pointed with his toe. “Right back of the head. He wouldn’t even quiver.”

Related Characters: Candy (speaker), Carlson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Candy’s Dog
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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“I oughtta of shot that dog myself, George. I shouldn't oughtta of let no stranger shoot my dog.”

Related Characters: Candy (speaker), George Milton
Related Symbols: Candy’s Dog
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 6 Quotes

"Never you mind," said Slim. "A guy got to sometimes."

Related Characters: Slim (speaker), George Milton, Lennie Small, Slim
Related Symbols: Candy’s Dog
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
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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
...the front door and opens it—Candy is standing there with an old, blind, and lame sheepdog. George accuses Candy of eavesdropping. Candy insists he wasn’t listening in, and was just petting... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...house. Slim introduces him to George and Lennie as Carlson. Carlson asks Slim whether his dog had her litter of puppies yet, and Slim says she gave birth last night. Nine... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...the puppies, and if George can ask Slim to give Lennie a brown and white puppy. George tries to calm Lennie down by urging him to hurry and wash up for... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...George confides in Lennie that he himself is worried about “tangl[ing]” with Curley someday. Candy’s dog remains in the bunk house alone, raising its head for a moment when it senses... (full context)
Part 3
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie comes into the bunk house, breathless with joy over his new puppy, and lies down on his bed. George tells him he’s not allowed to have the... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Candy comes into the bunk house, his old dog trailing behind him. Carlson, another laborer, comes into the bunk house, lamenting at having lost... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...to give Candy a new pup from his bitch’s litter if Candy shoots his old dog. Candy says he’s worried about hurting the dog. Carlson promises that if Candy lets him... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...be distracted by Whit’s remembrances of Tenner, and continues hounding Candy about putting down his dog. Carlson offers to shoot it with his Luger. Though Candy suggests they wait until tomorrow,... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...agrees, and solemnly remarks that he should have been the one to shoot his own dog. (full context)
Part 4
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...Lennie not to come into his room. Lennie says he simply came to visit his puppy and wanted to say hello to Crooks when he saw the man’s light on. Crooks... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...budget for the place they’re going to buy. Crooks tells Lennie to go visit his puppy if he wants company, warning him to stay out of places he isn’t wanted. Lennie... (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...in the bright sun, Lennie is alone in the barn. He is staring at his puppy, which is dead on the hay in front of him. Even though Lennie knows the... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Lennie feels badly and goes over to retrieve the puppy so he can hold it in his lap. As he sits stroking it some more,... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Curley’s wife asks Lennie what he’s holding. Lennie shows her the puppy, and she is surprised to see that it’s dead. Lennie explains that he was playing... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...from outside, Lennie wonders aloud if he could avoid trouble with George by throwing the puppy away. If George doesn’t know about the dead puppy, Lennie reasons, he won’t stop Lennie... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...“done another bad thing.” Lennie covers Curley’s wife in some hay, picks up the dead puppy, and resolves to go hide in the brush until George comes for him. (full context)