Slim is always in terms of dignity and majesty. When he first comes into the bunkhouse, he moves “with a majesty achieved only by royalty and master craftsmen. He was a jerk-line skinner, the prince of the ranch, capable of driving ten, sixteen, even twenty mules with a single line to the leaders. ” Slim is tall, ageless, and an expert in his job. His voice is the voice of rationalism. When Carlson suggests killing Candy’s dog, Candy appeals to Slim as the final authority. Curler- Curler, the boss’ son, is an evil character in Steinbeck world.
Even Leonie eels the sense of menace when Curler first comes into the bunkhouse. Curler is a “thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair. ” Curler wears high-heeled boots to distinguish himself from the field hands. Rumored to be a champion prizefighter, he is a confrontational, mean-spirited, and aggressive young man who seeks to compensate for his small stature by picking fights with larger men. Recently married, Curler is plagued with jealous suspicions and is extremely possessive of his flirtatious young wife. Candy- Candy is “a tall, stoop-shouldered old man . He was dressed in blue jeans ND carried a big push-broom in his left hand. ” His right hand is simply a stump because he lost his hand in a ranch accident. Now the owners of the ranch keep him on as long as he can “swamp” out or clean the bunkhouse. Candy gives Steinbeck an opportunity to discuss social discrimination based on age and handicaps. Candy represents what happens to everyone who gets old in American society: They are let go, canned, thrown out, used up. Candy’s greatest fear is that once he is no longer able to help with the cleaning he will be “disposed of. ” Like his old dog, he has lived beyond his usefulness.