Why does candy say that curley’s pants is full of ants?

Introduction: Setting the Scene

In John Steinbeck’s classic novel "Of Mice and Men," the characters live and work on a ranch in California during the Great Depression. The story follows two migrant workers, George and Lennie, as they navigate the challenges of poverty and friendship. One of the most memorable scenes in the book involves Candy, an elderly handyman, and Curley, the ranch owner’s son. During an argument, Candy makes a peculiar comment about Curley’s pants being "full of ants." This saying is often cited as an example of Steinbeck’s use of dialogue to convey character and theme.

The Characters Involved: Candy and Curley

Candy is an old swamper who has lost his hand and is relegated to sweeping the bunkhouse. He’s a lonely and isolated figure who forms a bond with George and Lennie. Curley, on the other hand, is the boss’s son and has a reputation for being aggressive and volatile. He’s constantly looking for a fight and uses his authority to intimidate the other workers. The tension between Candy and Curley comes to a head when Curley accuses Candy of eavesdropping on his conversation with Slim. This leads to an argument in which Candy makes the infamous comment about Curley’s pants.

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