Of Mice and Men

In this novel, both Candy and George experience the loss of a good friend. Both deaths- the dog's and Lennie's- were "compassionate killings." What can you conclude Steinbeck is saying about friendship?

Chapters 5-6

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One of the major themes in this novel is loneliness, it pervades this story. Friendship and love are in short supply. Candy's dog is his companion but, like Lennie, his dog can be a liability to others. Steinbeck's world is unforgiving and friendship is often the first casualty of this harshness. Love and death share a fragile relationship. Candy, under pressure, concedes that his dog be euthanized. The dog is a liability to the other men and probably suffering. Candy's act becomes one of compassion. Similarly, Lennie becomes a liability not only to George but himself. George's love demands that he perform this final act for Lennie.