Mark my OMAM essay on Candy's dogs death, please?

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lovelybow
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I do AQA for eng lit, i'd greatly appreciate if someone could mark this and give me feedback and all. Thanks

How does Steinbeck present the death of Candy’s dog?

Steinbeck portrays Candy’s dog as a construct and as being representative for the elderly in 1930’s America. Carlson describes the dog as ‘The old devil’. The article ‘The,’ used shows to the reader that he’s not comparing the dog to the devil, but rather that the dog is Satan, in all its glory itself. The devil caused Adam and Eve to disobey God’s commands and eat the forbidden fruit. The fact that ‘Devil’ is used suggests that the dog is appearing to steer the ranch workers off the path of their work or more specifically their survival. It also further suggests that the dog is evil by ‘smell[ing]’ and by taking up space, the dog is reducing the ranch worker’s chances of survival. So therefore, Carlson, establishes a sense of the survival of the fittest that because this dog is allowed to live, even though it has no use is why it’s the ‘devil’. Steinbeck does this to show the brutality of society, that in this society, anything rendered useless, or anything that hinders one’s survival is malicious and should be killed or disregarded because it’s a threat. 1930’s America was a time where men abandoned their families simply to survive- a very hard time. Furthermore, it suggests that no matter how useful one may be, like the dog who was the best ‘shepherd dog’ of its time, one’s end is nigh and there’s no escape from it in a society like this. In addition, Carlson says that he will put the dog out of its ‘misery’. However, Carlson, doesn’t know what the dog is feeling, he’s just assuming. What if the dog feels fine enough to live because of the unconditional love and positive regard it gets from Candy is enough to mask the pain? This assumption on part from Carlson suggests that the elderly in 1930’s America were essentially powerless and everyone else controlled what happened to them, as the dog is representative of the elderly. Even further, the Great Depression which happened in the 1930’s was not a time for feelings and emotions-this coldness could reflect the time period and the dangers of cutting one’s self off to emotions and humanity.

Interestingly, Steinbeck makes Carlson use a ‘Luger’ out of all guns to shoot the dog, being very specific. At the time, revolvers were the most popular type of gun in 1930’s America and a German ‘Luger’ was considered a rare occurrence. This type of gun was used by the Germans in world war 1 and in the lead up of world war 2. I believe Steinbeck uses the ‘Luger’ to show how discriminatory 1930’s America was. That similarly, like Nazi Germany (which came into power in 1933 and OMAM was published in 1937) singled out all the Jewish people and discriminated anyone who wasn’t of Aryan looks, American society was similarly singling out anyone who wasn’t useful, like Candy’s dog. Steinbeck does this to show to the reader just how cheap the tactics used just to let others survive. He highlights a very selfish society.

All throughout the scene of Candy’s dog being killed, Steinbeck repeatedly describes the atmosphere of the room as being in ‘silence’ as though the sound of nothing, in itself was deafening and unbearable to the ranch workers. The fact that it was silent during this pivotal moment and all the ranch workers appeared to be at unease and were ‘grateful’ for any distractions like the ‘gnawing sound’ coming from the floorboards suggests that the ranch hands felt to some degree, guilty. As if they all had a role to play in the lead up to the killing of his dog. To the reader, this ‘silence’ presents itself as an unfair treatment of the dog. Once again, as the dog is a representative for the elderly in 1930’s America and that the ranch hands all represent different types of people in society, it suggests that society did feel guilty for harsh acts similar to this. But believed that this was the only way to survive. Steinbeck does this to show that this was a time of great hardship and that men had to do things which were considered immoral because every man was for himself. He portrays this to signal a need for a change, that his 1930’s readers should hone in on their guilt and endeavour to use their guilt to change society for the better.

Lastly, while Carlson took the dog to kill it the ranch workers played a card game called euchre. All card games are played on the basis of luck and probability- nothing is definite. The card game suggests that fate is unpredictable and this idea is reinforced by the title of this novella based on a poem by Robert Burns which also highlights the unpredictable nature of fate. However, Steinbeck juxtaposes this major theme with the certainty of the treatment and removal of the people who are considered useless, like Candy and his dog. Steinbeck presents the death of Candy’s dog as something that was definitely going to happen and nothing could change that and Carlson reinforces this by saying ‘get it over with.’ This suggests that despite however long Candy will prolong, he’s going to do it, whether Candy likes it or not. I believe Steinbeck uses this juxtaposition to show to the reader just how jarring these two incompatible ideas are. Perhaps readers from the 1930’s feel a sense of this jarring juxtaposition and so start to understand that definite certainty like the disregarding of the so-considered ‘useless’ of society like Candy and his dog is wrong and that this should change.
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dontrevisefail
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It's really good but maybe you're over complicating it? Some points you make like that religious links to the devil are good but it doesn't make sense fully. Perhaps, you need to use more quotes and pick them out instead of referencing the book vaguely. Still atleast an A though.
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lovelybow
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(Original post by dontrevisefail)
It's really good but maybe you're over complicating it? Some points you make like that religious links to the devil are good but it doesn't make sense fully. Perhaps, you need to use more quotes and pick them out instead of referencing the book vaguely. Still atleast an A though.
yeah, tbh idk what i was talking about there lol, thank you so much!! I'll take your advice onboard
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JustJen
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The ideas are insightful and perceptive - just work on making more concise points as it's unlikely you will be able to write this much in the 20 minutes you're given for AQA for part a) and 20 minutes for part b). Is this based on an extract?
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lovelybow
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(Original post by JustJen)
The ideas are insightful and perceptive - just work on making more concise points as it's unlikely you will be able to write this much in the 20 minutes you're given for AQA for part a) and 20 minutes for part b). Is this based on an extract?
hmm true, I'm obviously not oging to use to write this much lool.What do you think of the last paragraph, does it make sense?
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JustJen
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It does make sense yes

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yepthatsme
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This is 'far-fetched', at least in my eyes. And worryingly -- the examiner's report's have disliked 'far-fetched' responses in the past. I'd certainly tone it down.
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