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**spoilers**Candy in the ending?

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Olivia What do you think happens? He isn't in Chapter 6, and at the end of Chapter 5 he lies down and covers his eyes next to Curely's wife in the barn-do you think he dies too?


C. J. Scurria Now I wish I had a copy to re-read. That sounds heartbreaking. Can't believe I missed it the first time or just didn't think much of it.


message 3: by Monty J (last edited May 24, 2015 04:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Olivia wrote: "What do you think happens? He isn't in Chapter 6, and at the end of Chapter 5 he lies down and covers his eyes next to Curely's wife in the barn-do you think he dies too?"

No, he doesn't die and there's nothing in the text to indicate he lies next to her. There's a lot of hay in the barn as indicated on page 62: ONE END OF THE great barn was piled high with new hay... . ...The hay came down like a mountain slope to the other end of the barn, and there was a level place as yet unfilled with the new crop [of hay]." Candy lies down "in the hay and covers his eyes," but if he were lying next to the woman Steinbeck would have described it as such.

By using the term "next to" you have assumed a proximity between Candy and the body that is unsupported in the text. Here's the text from that scene, after Curley vows to kill Lennie and orders George accompany him in the hunt, and Candy's been told to stay with the body:

George moved slowly after them, and his feet dragged heavily.
And when they were gone, Candy squatted down in the hay and watched the face of Curley's wife. "Poor bastard," he said softly.
The sound of the men grew fainter. ...Old Candy lay down in the hay and covered his eyes with his arm.


This is Candy's final scene, his denoument. Moments earlier he expressed his feelings toward Curley's wife, and nothing has happened to change that condemnation. Looking at her face while saying "Poor bastard," referring either to George or Lennie, links her as the person responsible for Lennie's impending death and for shattering their dreams.

Just prior to Candy squatting, the action and focus shifted to George:
Slim turned to Candy. "You stay here with her then, Candy. The rest of us better get goin'."
They moved away. George stopped a moment beside Candy and they both looked down at the dead girl until Curley called, "You, George! You stick with us so we don't think you had nothin' to do with this."
George moved slowly after them, and his feet dragged heavily.
And when they were gone Candy squatted...



You may be conflating Candy's squatting "in the hay" with his subsequent lying in the hay. The sequences is: George leaves; Candy squats and says "Poor bastard" while watching her face; the sounds of the men grow fainter; the horses shift their feet and rattle halters; then Candy lies down and covers his eyes, signifying his acceptance of defeat.

George was the key to Candy's dream to escape the misery of his ranch life and fear of a grim future. Moments earlier, after days of repeated misgivings about Curley's wife, he issued his final condemnation of her. Now it's time to express his feelings toward George and the loss of the dream they shared with Lennie. George's foot dragging shows his grief over the loss of his dream and what he faces now in euthanizing Lennie. George's posture of defeat may trigger Candy's words of sympathy for him.

It is possible that Candy's "Poor bastard" remark refers to Lennie because he just witnessed Curley's fierce vow to kill the man who mangled his hand and embarrassed him: "I'm gonna shoot the guts outta' that big bastard myself...". Candy's "poor bastard" echoes Curley's "big bastard."

It is also worth noting that women are rarely called "bastard" because "bitch" is the overwhelmingly favored female pejorative, by both genders.

In Candy's mind Lennie is going to die and George, his potential rescuer, is defeated. Candy's "Poor bastard" comment fits no one but them, and least of all Curley's wife.


Geoffrey Monty, good choices, but I do believe the comment was directed toward Lennie. I don't believe Candy to be so far-sighted as to immediately foresee the ramifications for George.


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