Life is very difficult for the migrant workers in "Of Mice and Men," according to a plot synopsis from SparkNotes.com. Life is very strict on the ranch, which is why George must lie to the boss, promising him that Lennie is not going to be a problem. All of the workers must deal with the boss's son Curley, who is possessive of his flirtatious wife.
The name of Curley's wife is never mentioned in the story, but the workers ignore her to avoid Curley's wrath. Each of the characters has his own set of problems. Candy is an old handyman with a missing hand and an old dog. Carlson is one worker who is annoyed by the dog and convinces Candy to have the animal put down painlessly. Crooks is a stable hand with a bad back who is isolated from the farm because of his skin color.
The characters also dream beyond their current circumstances. George and Lennie dream of one day owning their own farm together, and other characters share their dream. Crooks desires to tend Lennie's fictional garden, and Candy shares their desire to own land. However, the harsh reality of life prevents each of the characters from reaching their life goals. According to SparkNotes.com, the shooting of Candy's old dog represents the expendability of all of the workers. All of the workers are treated as tools that can be discarded on a whim once they have outlived their usefulness."