In Of Mice and Men, what does the description of the bunk house tell the reader about the men who live there?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The opening of the second section reveals much about the living conditions of the bunk house as well as the men who have lived there.  Steinbeck carefully describes these settings in order to convey both the present tense and the condition of life that lives there.  Little space exists for personal items because the men who live there don't have much in way of personal elements.  This occupies emotional significance, as well.  The men who live there simply work and move on.  There is little in way of attachments in their lives, hence little space is needed.  The fear of lice that George has helps to reflect the reality of the living conditions of these men.  Little attention is paid to their welfare, as the expectation is that they live there and work there temporarily.  There is a feeling of the transitory that is conveyed.  The shaving creme and soap help to reflect a world where men enter and leave, almost like a bus depot.  The description of Whitey, as a fellow who just "quit" helps to bring thie reality out for both the reader and remind George and Lennie of where they are.  It might also serve to highlight just why George and Lennie need to dream, to envision a world that is different from what is there in front of them in this description of the bunk house.

blue6a | Student

the description of the bunk house satrky contrats that of the nautral, beautiful setting in chapter 1. the bunk house being descrbed as dull and "dusk" shows it is a place were violence and lonliness takes place, being a man made place whereas the description of nature is vivid and tranquil and is the perfect backdrop for a place filled with hope and a new start.

The bunk house shows the basic living conditions of workers and the concern goerge draws about lice shows poor and lilttle attention to poor hygine and welfare. the description of a the possesions of workers is a bare minimal showing they donot stay around for a while and often leave after a week or so in search for new work