What does Whit show Slim in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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Whit shows Slim a pulp magazine—specifically, a letter posted to the editor in the magazine. The contents of the letter are pretty banal, simply stating that the writer enjoys the magazine, but Whit is excited about it because he used to work with the man who wrote the letter, who he identifies as Bill. Whit recalls Bill's hopes that his letter would be posted one day.

The fact that Whit is so excited about the letter says a lot. Firstly, it illustrates Whit's connection with Bill. He may not be here physically with him, but Whit still feels a connection with his old coworker. This also emphasizes the loneliness he feels, and that loneliness is juxtaposed with the relationship between Lennie and George.

Secondly, Bill's success in having his letter posted is a major victory in Whit's eyes. In a circumstance where any success beyond surviving from day to day is presented as slim, Bill's modest victory is a cause for celebration.

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Chapter three of John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men is set in the bunkhouse of the ranch. Just as Slim has agreed with Carlson that Candy's old dog should be put down, a "young laboring man" named Whit comes into the bunkhouse. Whit wants to show Slim a letter in a "pulp" magazine. Pulp magazines were popular at the time and often contained fictional stories about the old West or crime dramas.

After Slim reads the letter, he is confused as to why Whit wanted him to read it. It turns out the letter was written by a man who used to work on the ranch. Once he is described, Slim remembers the man. Whit comments,

“Bill and me worked in that patch of field peas. Run cultivators, both of us. Bill was a hell of a nice fella.” 

The purpose of the passage is to juxtapose the importance of friendship and the pain of loneliness. Candy is losing his dog at the same time as Whit is talking about a man he considers a good friend. Friendship and loneliness are two of the major themes in Steinbeck's book.

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