What was George's bed like in the novella Of Mice and Men?  

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter two of Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie arrive at the bunkhouse of the ranch where they have come to work. They are shown around by the old swamper, Candy. In the opening paragraph Steinbeck describes the setting, including the bunks or beds:

Against the walls were eight bunks, five of them made up with blankets and the other three showing their burlap ticking. 

Burlap is the coarse fabric of the mattresses. Burlap is also used for grain sacks, which is fitting, because George and Lennie have come to the ranch to "buck barley" and load the crop into grain sacks. The mattresses were stuffed with straw. George becomes indignant when he notices a can of bug killer next to his bunk. He thinks the mattresses might be infested with parasites or "graybacks." He tells Candy,

“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.” 

"Pants rabbits" would refer to lice or crabs. Candy allays George's concerns by telling him the last guy who had the bunk was extraordinarily clean and would spread the powder around just in case. Candy says,

"This here blacksmith—name of Whitey—was the kind of guy that would put that stuff around even if there wasn’t no bugs—just to make sure, see?"

In chapter one George also talks about sleeping in the open area between the Gabilan Mountains and the Salinas River where he and Lennie camp. Steinbeck writes:

They made their beds on the sand, and as the blaze dropped from the fire the sphere of light grew smaller; the curling branches disappeared and only a faint glimmer showed where the tree trunks were.