In the extract in which the aged and arguably pitiable Candy expresses his desire to join George and Lennie in their dream of securing a “little old place” of their own, we see Candy’s desperation to participate in the scheme he believes will provide him with security, companionship and a sense of purpose that he would otherwise be lacking. When George states, “full of wonder”, that he thinks they may finally be able to “swing her” (acquire the place of their own) Candy is entirely engaged in the words that George utters “softly”, as though they are comforting and soothing. He “sat on the edge of his bunk”, eager and excited by the prospect of escaping his vulnerable position of swamper on the ranch. Candy is, however, not only possessed by feelings of keen anticipation; he also reveals his insecurities about his age and disability, as though he is anxious that George may not wish him to join in with the pursuit of their dream. He “scratched the stump of his wrist nervously” as though he cannot help but think of his handicap and states that he “got hurt four year ago”. It is as though he needs George to be entirely aware of the role that he would able to play in their dream and not expect something that he cannot provide; perhaps it is his fear that would be a disappointment to George and he needs to ensure that George understands his limitations.
Candy further reveals his apprehension regarding his current and precarious position on the ranch. He states “they’ll can me purty soon” as though it is a certainty that he will lose his job and he almost pleads with George to allow him to participate in the pursuit of a small piece of land of their. He offers the money he already possesses, as well as the “thirty dollars more comin’”, in a desperate attempt for George’s acceptance. This gesture reveals the feelings of worthlessness that have enveloped Candy; he cannot possibly imagine that he would be accepted by George without the offer of a monetary contribution. Desperation is further seen in Candy’s listing of the menial tasks he is willing to complete in order to join the men: “hoe the garden” and “wash the dishes”. It seems that for Candy, a man who lives in the fear that his presence will no longer be required, anywhere without the threat of being “canned” is preferable to the ranch – even though he barely knows George and Lennie.
We see too, in the extract, how Candy (along with George and Lennie) simply desires ownership of something, anything, to provide him with a sense of stability and purpose (“I’ll be on our own place and I’ll be let to work on our own place”) with the repetition of the adjective “own” emphasising his passionate yearning. Having nothing to call one’s own and can cause people to feel helpless and as though they have no control over their own lives. They are motivated to work and they dream in order to bring themselves a step closer to a life in which they are able to make decisions and be in charge of their own futures. This can be seen clearly in Candy who has even more reason to desire an escape from the ranch as the one source of comfort and companionship (his ancient, malodorous dog) has been cruelly shot by Carlson simply because he no longer has a function on the ranch (“They says he wasn’t no good to himself or nobody else”). Candy reveals his despair, emphasised though the adverb “miserably”, when he states “you seen what they done to my dog tonight”, however this comment in fact reveals more than merely his despair at losing his companion. It reveals his fear that he too is viewed in the same manner as the dog, as useless and lacking a purpose. The fact that Candy states that he “wisht somebody’d shoot me” is painful; he sees no value in himself and we understand that the turbulent period of economic depression has led to Candy to view himself merely in terms of the ability to function as a worker. He cannot see any merit in himself at