What does Steinbeck’s description of the bunkhouse tell us about life on the ranch in Of Mice and Men?

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At the beginning of chapter 2, Steinbeck describes the interior of the bunkhouse. The inside walls of the bunkhouse are whitewashed, and the floor is unpainted. There are eight bunk beds with opened apple boxes above each bed that serve as shelving for the migrant workers. Each shelf holds the...

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At the beginning of chapter 2, Steinbeck describes the interior of the bunkhouse. The inside walls of the bunkhouse are whitewashed, and the floor is unpainted. There are eight bunk beds with opened apple boxes above each bed that serve as shelving for the migrant workers. Each shelf holds the workers' various personal items, and there is a black cast-iron stove against one of the walls. There is also a poker table positioned in the middle of the dust-laden bunkhouse, where the workers spend the majority of their time. Overall, the interior of the bunkhouse suggests that life on the ranch is difficult and arduous. The bunkhouse does not have many amenities and is not described as a comfortable, welcoming environment.

The bare necessities found above each bunk illustrate the transitory life of the workers, and the rough facilities indicate that it is not a family environment. The bunkhouse is a building that provides temporary shelter during the night for those working on the ranch. Its lack of amenities, furniture, and appliances indicates that it is simply a place where the workers rest after a long day on the ranch. The bunkhouse also lacks abundant natural light and is home to small pests and insects. The dreary atmosphere and primitive appearance of the bunkhouse suggest that life on the ranch is difficult, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

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The bunk house is stark, dark, and unfriendly.  This tells us that life on the ranch is harsh and uncomfortable, and the men have few luxuries.

The bunk house was a long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted. (ch 3)

There are eight bunks in the small house, made of “burlap ticking” (ch 3).  Each man also gets “an apple box” (ch 3) nailed to the wall to store his possessions.  There is also a stove and a table littered with playing cards, showing that the men like to gamble in their spare time.  The room is also full of dust and flies.  There might also be a problem with pest infestation.  George finds a telling jar.

“Says ‘positively kills lice, roaches and other scourges.’ What the hell kind of bed you giving us, anyways. We don’t want no pants rabbits.” (ch 3)

George has reasons to worry about lice and roaches.  Chances are that if the jar is there, so are the pests.

The bunk house is usually dark and dreary.

Although there was evening brightness showing through the windows of the bunk house, inside it was dusk. (ch 4)

Life on the ranch is no picnic.

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