How many bunks were there in the bunkhouse in Of Mice and Men?

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readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The second chapter of the book describes the bunkhouse. According to the book, the bunkhouse was a long rectangular building that was sparsely decorated. And in the bunkhouse there were eight beds along with shelves, where the men kept their personal belongings. Here is how Steinbeck describes the place.

Against the walls were eight bunks, five of them made up with blankets and the other three showing their burlap ticking. Over each bunk there was nailed an apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk.

If we reflect on the bunkhouse more, we can see a great irony. Men lived together in the bunkhouse, but there was still no sense of community or friendship. One would think that men who spent so much time together in close  proximity would be friends, but they were only acquaintances. This is why Lennie and George stood out so much. Their relationship was the only example of friendship in the whole book. From this perspective, the bunkhouse is an example of the alienation that the men lived through.