In “Of Mice and Men”, Carlson shooting Candy’s dog serves as a symbol of the tragic ending of the novel. The dog is old and smelly, and is no longer useful, so Carlson believes it would be more humane to put it out of its misery. Candy is attached to the dog, seeing it as a loyal companion, and is initially reluctant to have it shot. This scene reflects the callousness of society towards those who are considered to be useless or no longer able to contribute. It also highlights the theme of loneliness and isolation, as Candy fears he too will be deemed worthless and cast aside like his dog. Moreover, it shows the lack of compassion and empathy towards those who are vulnerable in society, as Carlson’s insistence on shooting the dog reflects the wider society’s disregard for the weak and vulnerable. Ultimately, the scene illustrates the grim and hopeless reality of life during the Great Depression and the lack of empathy towards those who are deemed less valuable.
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