In the book Of Mice and Men Candy the swamper who cleans out the bunkhouse is present as George is rolling out his bunk and setting up his bed. Candy begins telling him about Whitey after George's asks about some lice treatment he finds on a shelf.
Candy tells George that Whitey was a nice guy who had been a blacksmith. The man had used George's bunk. He was always real clean. He would clean himself up and sometimes just sit back down in his bunk. He had no where to go. When George asks him why he quit, Candy tells him he just did. He had said that he did not like the food. However, candy thinks he just wanted to move on.
The character of Whitey represents the way a man who works ranches lives. One day they work on a ranch and the next day they are off on their own. They are alone with no relationships or anything to keep them where they were. It shows how a man can be all alone despite being around others. There is no real connection among the ranch hands.