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[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)
Here's the thing: the world treats old men like Candy just as badly as they treat old dogs, and maybe even worse. They'll kill the old dogs, but they'll make the old men suffer.
Lennie covered his face with huge paws and bleated with terror. He cried, "Make ‘um stop, George." (3.248)
Here's Lennie with his "paws" again, and this time he's "bleating," like a lamb about to be slaughtered—which, in one reading, is exactly what happens. He's an innocent who gets killed to please the men in charge.
George said, "She’s gonna make a mess. They’s gonna be a bad mess about her. She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger. That Curley got his work cut out for him. Ranch with a bunch of guys on it ain’t no place for a girl, specially like her." (3.135)
Is it true that ranches are no place for women? As George earlier compared stability to having "a girl" and presumably raising a family, it seems that if women can’t be part of ranch life, ranch life can’t really ever be stable and happy. Thinking on this leads us to wonder whether there’s no notion of a loving, down-to-earth, farm-wife type of gal that could make these men happy. Are all women trouble, as far as the ranch men see them?