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

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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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guigs97's profile pic

guigs97 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

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Life in the ranch is simple, the men are all sleeping in a small room all together, and the furniture is very simple.