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Dignity in Of Mice and Men

            Everyone wants to live with dignity, but rarely does that equate to being dignified. One is usually preoccupied with receiving and wanting to be shown dignity that one forgets to treat others in the same manner. In John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, the characters whom are considered the weakest, seek to shatter those who are weaker than they. Candy fears that, because of his age, he will eventually be found no longer useful, but when it comes to putting his own dog out of its misery, Candy cannot do the deed himself. Crooks admits his vulnerabilities to Lennie, then Crooks immediately aims his sights on Lennie's own weakness, creating a story where George abandons Lennie.  Curley's wife constantly seeks dignity from all the men on the ranch, yet she feels most powerful when threatening Crooks with a lynching.  In these three characters one can see that Steinbeck is stating a basic tenet of the human condition; being undignified does not only originate from the strong preying on the weak, it is also evident in the .
             weak making others feel smaller, in essence, being undignified is found in weakness itself. .
             It is not how long one lives, but how one lives that matters. Sadly though, this is a disposable world, and  when something or someone has past their due date, society is anxious to rid themselves of any burden.  Candy has outlived his purpose and his dog, once useful on the ranch is now, like Candy, debilitated by age. Candy had raised his dog since it was a pup, but that sentimentality is lost on Carlson. Carlson promises to dispose of the dog painlessly; "The.
             way I'd shoot him, he wouldn't feel nothing.He wouldn't even quiver." (Steinbeck 45).  Candy relents for he no longer has the strength nor a valid argument realizing that life on the ranch is all about the survival of the fittest. Although Candy later feels remorse, "I ought to have shot that dog myself," (61), his fear of being branded useless keeps Candy from showing mercy to the one thing he held dear in his heart.

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