In “Of Mice and Men”, Steinbeck uses a variety of techniques to create tension during the incident with Candy’s dog. Firstly, he uses short, sharp sentences to convey the sense of urgency and danger. For example, when George shoots the dog, Steinbeck writes: “He fired two shots. The first one missed completely. The second one took the dog in the throat.” This creates a sense of suspense and makes the reader feel on edge.
Secondly, Steinbeck uses powerful descriptions to create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind. For example, when describing the dog’s death throes, he writes: “The body jerked and twitched and was still.” This gruesome image is sure to unsettle readers and add to the tension.
Finally, Steinbeck uses foreshadowing to hint at the potential consequences of George’s actions. For example, he writes: “Candy looked old and tired. His hands shook” after the dog has been killed. This suggests that Candy is going to be deeply affected by the death of his pet and that George may regret shooting the dog.
Overall, Steinbeck is successful in creating tension during the incident with Candy’s dog. By using short, sharp sentences, powerful descriptions and foreshadowing, he keeps readers on edge and anticipating what will happen next.
When Candy first starts shooting her dog, she is uneasy and tries to avoid the situation, “I had him so long. He’s been my puppy ever since he was a pup.” For such a lengthy time, Candy has been in the company of this canine, who has been the only genuine companion she has ever had.
Steinbeck uses pathetic fallacy in order to create a more sinister and dark atmosphere as, “The heavens were dark and shuttered. A wind had sprung up and drove grey clouds across the sky.” The stormy weather creates a sense of uneasiness which reflects Candy’s state of mind. As the dog is being put down, Steinbeck uses foreshadowing to hint that something bad might happen to one of the characters in the future.
This is done when Carlson says, “I wisht somebody’d shoot me if I got old an’ a nuisance.” This statement could be interpreted in two ways: firstly, that Carlson wishes someone would have the decency to put him out of his misery when he gets old; secondly, that Carlson wants someone to kill him before he gets too old and feeble. There is a sense of threat in Carlson’s words as the reader does not know whether he will make good on his statement.
After the dog has been killed, Steinbeck uses Candy’s reaction to create tension. Candy is portrayed as being very upset and angry, “Candy stared stupidly at the dead dog…he looked bewildered and so frightened that George and Lennie had to turn away from him.” This shows that even though the dog was old and sick, Candy still held a great deal of affection for him.
The fact that George and Lennie have to look away from Candy indicates that they are uncomfortable with the situation and feel empathy for him. Furthermore, it could be argued that Steinbeck is foreshadowing Candy’s own death as he is described as being “bewildered and so frightened.” This could be interpreted to mean that Candy does not know what is going to happen to him in the future and he is scared of what might happen.
The friendship between the two could be viewed as unusual, as most of the ranch workers would not think of an animal as a companion but merely as a necessity. When it has gone past its usefulness, it would be killed. But Candy loves his dog and tries to protect it from the other men. Candy and his dog have a co-dependent relationship; they are both old and vulnerable which in some ways is similar to the relationship of George and Lennie.
The men on the ranch see the dog as a nuisance and want to get rid of it, Steinbeck uses this to foreshadow what will happen to Lennie.
The men are not initially violent towards the dog, they just want it gone. However, when Candy refuses to let them take it away they become more forceful. Curley’s wife also plays a role in the incident, she sadistically enjoys watching the men beat the animal. The way she taunts them and laughs at the dog’s pain adds to the tension of the scene.
Steinbeck expertly builds the tension throughout the scene, from the initial discussion about getting rid of the dog to the moment when Candy finally gives in and allows them to kill it. The reader is left feeling horrified at the cruelty of the men, and the callousness of Curley’s wife. This incident serves as a reminder of the harsh reality of life during the Great Depression, where even the simplest act of kindness could be met with violence.
The old man’s steadfast loyalty to the dog, however, is his greatest asset. Candy lacks control and power as Carlson continues to torment the old man in order for him to kill the dog. He is adamant in his refusal and says, “This ol’ dog just takes it all for himself,” but he has never experienced a relationship in which each valued the other’s company because he has clearly never had one.
In the same way, Lennie is a burden to George as he is not very bright and often gets into trouble. However, George loves Lennie and their relationship is one of the few in which true companionship is present. While reading Of Mice and Men, it becomes clear that relationships built on anything but equality are sure to fail.
The incident with Candy’s dog takes place shortly after Lennie kills Curley’s wife. Everyone is on edge, and when Carlson suggests that Candy put his dog down, Steinbeck uses foreshadowing to hint at the tragedy that is about to unfold. The reader knows that Lennie will be the one to kill Candy’s dog, just as he killed Curley’s wife. This creates a sense of tension and dread, as the reader is waiting for the inevitable to happen.
When Lennie does kill the dog, Steinbeck uses Candy’s reaction to heighten the sense of tragedy. Candy is heartbroken, and his grief is palpable. The death of his dog represents the loss of his last companion, and Steinbeck makes it clear that this is a turning point for Candy. He will never be the same again.
The incident with Candy’s dog is a key moment in Of Mice and Men, as it highlights the theme of companionship. The death of the dog serves as a reminder that relationships built on anything but equality are doomed to fail. Steinbeck expertly creates tension and tragedy, making this one of the most memorable scenes in the novel.
In conclusion, John Steinbeck has effectively used a range of techniques to create tension during the incident with Candy’s dog. By using pathetic fallacy, foreshadowing and characterisation, Steinbeck has managed to create a sense of unease and suspense which keeps the reader engaged.