Of Mice and Men Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men book cover
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In Of Mice and Men, what did the workers have in the apple box that was nailed to the wall?

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In "Of Mice and Men" the migrant workers keep their personal belongings in apple boxes over their bunks. "And these shelves were loaded with little articles, soap and talcum powder, razors and those Western magazines ranch men love to read..." (17). Since the men are constantly moving from one place to another for work, they do not have a lot of personal items. The apple boxes contain medicines, combs, and on the sides of the boxes they can hang their neckties. The boxes are open to the front, therefore, everyone in the bunkhouse can see what everyone else owns. They have a limited amount of space, as well as privacy in the bunkhouse. Since their few possessions are overhead, they can be easily reached in times of need. Additionally, they can be retrieved if the worker needs to leave for another job. During the Great Depression, many people lose much of their wealth. Steinbeck uses the simple apple box with two shelves to represent the minimal possessions an adult male would have.

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xm-apt05 | Student

I saw this movie a couple times, and each time noticed during the scenes in the bunk house, many of the workers would keep valuables they came across in the apple boxes. Usually it was cards or small trinkets. I'd assume it was a form of hobby for them after a long day's work.