In "Of Mice and Men", Carlson shoots Candy's dog as a symbolic act that foreshadows the tragic ending of the novel. The dog is an old and smelly animal, who is no longer useful. Carlson's reasons for shooting Candy's dog are that the dog is suffering and that it would be more humane to put it out of its misery. However, Candy is attached to the dog, seeing it as a loyal companion, and is initially reluctant to have it shot. Carlson's insensitivity towards the dog's life is a reflection of the callousness of society towards those who are considered to be useless or no longer able to contribute.
The shooting of the dog is a pivotal moment in the novel, as it highlights the theme of loneliness and isolation. Candy, who has lost his hand and is considered to be an old-timer, fears that he too will be deemed worthless and cast aside like his dog. The scene also foreshadows the tragic ending of the novel, as it illustrates the brutal reality of life in Depression-era America. The characters, like Candy's dog, are powerless and are at the mercy of the cruel world in which they live.
Moreover, the shooting of the dog also shows the lack of compassion and empathy towards those who are vulnerable in society. Candy's dog, like Lennie, is helpless and unable to defend itself. Carlson's insistence on shooting the dog is a reflection of the wider society's disregard for the weak and vulnerable. The scene ultimately shows 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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