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Candy leaned against the wall beside the broken collar while he scratched his wrist stump. "I been here a long time," he said. "An' Crooks been here a long time. This's the first time I ever been in his room."
Crooks said darkly, "Guys don't come into a colored man's room very much." (4.76-77)
Prejudice works both ways: Crooks may be isolated because of his skin color, but the white guys might also be missing out on a good friend. (And, we have to ask: do you think Steinbeck is making a point by having the black man speak "darkly"? Too much of a stretch?)
Candy looked a long time at Slim to try to find some reversal. And Slim gave him none. At last Candy said softly and hopelessly, "Awright—take 'im." He did not look down at the dog at all. He lay back on his bunk and crossed his arms behind his head and stared at the ceiling. (3.85)
Poor Candy. We wish we could respect Candy a little more, because he seems like a genuinely nice guy who's had a bad life. But he's so weak that he can't even manage to shoot his own dog—not very manly.
[Candy] said miserably, "You seen what they done to my dog tonight? They says he wasn’t no good to himself nor nobody else. When they can me here I wisht somebody’d shoot me. But they won’t do nothing like that. I won’t have no place to go, an’ I can’t get no more jobs." (3.222)
We're pretty sure (99.9%) that Steinbeck isn't recommending the euthanization of old ranchhands, but this is a problem: if your entire career is based on bodily strength, what happens when you get old and can't work anymore?