3 million Americans migrated to California." The Great Depression was the result of the stock market crash of 1929. People lost jobs everywhere, and so they resorted to migrating and doing farm work. Set in this time period, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck writes about two young nomadic workers named George Milton and Lennie Small who begin working at a small ranch in the Salinas Valley of California. The men met a variety of different people while starting work there, most notably Candy, Curley's wife, and Crooks; people who stuck out and were ignored because of their physical traits. Candy was an old swamper, who only had a left hand with which to work. Curley's wife was the only woman around, to whom no one spoke. Crooks was a crippled stable buck who was picked on by the boss because he was black. They all learned what it felt like to be lonely, and were able to lash out in bitterness towards everyone. The physical differences of Candy, Curley's wife, and Crooks led to their loneliness, and it showed Steinbecks' message that the lack of human companionship indefinitely makes one feel bitterness towards others.
The one-handed man, Candy, was only looking for a better life with George and Lennie in his old age, because he wanted to be with others and be treated equally. Near the beginning of the story, Candy was always accompanied by his dog. The dog was old and smelly, so Carlson insisted that the dog be shot. "At last Candy said softly, and hopelessly, 'Awright -- take 'im'" (47). This made Candy depressed because he depended so much on his dog for comfort. He was also bitter and angry towards Carlson because he did not even get to shoot his own dog. Carlson wouldn't listen to what he had to say. Still, he shares his true feelings when he overhears Lennie and George talk about their dream of owning their own ranch. Candy feels left out, and tries to reserve a spot for himself on the ranch by promising them money.