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

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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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