There is an allegorical level to this story that evades the reader if it is approached only on the realistic level. Because Steinbeck was a realist drawing photographic images of the itineret workers’ lives, it is easy to overlook the symbols: all our lives are a searching for a “paradise” of rabbits, abundant crops, “our own place,” freedom from economic slavery. We all encounter environments that are toxic to our health, whether foul water or work environments with a hidden infection. We all, like Curley’s wife, seeks companionship to escape our loveless lives, and that companionship is so often misinterpreted for desire or lust; we all have trouble balancing affectionate stroking with over-violent pressure, etc. And we all know the moral dilemma we may face at some time or another, the dilemma of seeing our loved ones suffer or compromising society’s rules to prevent it; sometimes, it is an old dog; sometimes it is a child we are rearing; sometimes it is an aging parent. If we are a collection of individuals, each working out our own problems, then the world is not unlike a bunkhouse.