Compassion In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

Words: 484
Pages: 2

During the great depression, migrant workers ran rampant. Due to the conditions of migrant working, these men never had much companionship; any they did have, fell apart after abandoning one ranch and moving to another. This lead to an overall lack of compassion for others and education. In the novel Of Mice & Men the characters, Slim and Candy, are similar because they are both wise, yet different because Slim is compassionate but Candy has a complete lack of empathy.

To begin with, Slim and Candy are both wise. This is shown when the narrator says, “This was Slim, the Jerkline skinner… he moved with a majesty only achieved by royalty… his authority was so great his word was taken on any subject…” (33). By saying that Slim’s authority is
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Slim is shown as empathetic when he says, “‘You hadda’, George. I swear you hadda’’” (107). This shows Slim being compassionate and understanding of George’s feelings after having to kill Lenny; meanwhile, others aren’t so understanding. Other ranch workers are perplexed by Slim’s understanding of Lenny’s feelings. Even Candy, although wise much like Slim, doesn’t quite understand empathy. When he says, “‘You god damn tramp…’” (95). He is talking to Curley’s dead wife. Candy doesn’t even have empathy for a poor dead woman. Whereas Slim understands George’s feelings, Candy doesn’t even show compassion for a deceased misses. This complete lack of understanding is all part of a migrant worker’s loneliness.

Clearly, the characters, Slim and Candy, in Of Mice & Men are similar because they are wise yet dissimilar because while Slim has empathy for others, Candy shows no understanding or compassion. The author Steinbeck displays their traits mainly through dialogue and description. These traits relate to migrant workers in California on a deeply personal level; as they show the loneliness and the lack of friendships’ long lasting effects on these