Of Mice and Men

explore the ways in which Steinbeck presents the bunkhouse as compared to the atmosphere of crooks room and how this reflects the lives of the 'bindlestiffs' in of mice and men.

read chapter 2 and 4 only the room description

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The bunkhouse is orderly and inviting. The men share a room, but each of them has their own individual places to keep their personal belongings. The stove and table make the room homelike. The men can gather around on a cold evening and eat or play cards. This makes the bunkhouse a setting not only for sleep, but a place where socialization occurs as well. It makes the room welcoming.

"Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted. In three walls there were small, square windows, and in the fourth, a solid door with a wooden latch. Against the walls were eight bunks, five of them made up with blankets and the other three showing their burlap ticking. Over each bunk there was nailed an apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk. And these shelves were loaded with little articles, soap and talcum powder, razors and those Western magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe. And there were medicines on the shelves, and little vials, combs; and from nails on the box sides, a few neckties. Near one wall there was a black cast-iron stove, its stovepipe going straight up through the ceiling. In the middle of the room stood a big square table littered with playing cards, and around it were grouped boxes for the players to sit on."

Crooks room resembled a more permanent abode. Nothing was orderly, as Crooks had no one to complain. He also worked within his room, so it was not simply a place to relax..... work existed there as well. Crooks never got away from it. One other difference is Crook's bed. Crooks slept on a bed of straw, whereas, the other men had mattresses. Crooks had also amassed many personal belongings, which signified the fact he planned on staying.

"On one side of the little room there was a square four-paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn. Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. On the wall by the window there were pegs on which hung broken harness in process of being mended; strips of new leather; and under the window itself a little bench for leather-working tools, curved knives and needles and balls of linen thread, and a small hand riveter. On pegs were also pieces of harness, a split collar with the horsehair stuffing sticking out, a broken hame, and a trace chain with its leather covering split. Crooks had his apple box over his bunk, and in it a range of medicine bottles, both for himself and for the horses. There were cans of saddle soap and a drippy can of tar with its paint brush sticking over the edge. And scattered about the floor were a number of personal possessions; for, being alone, Crooks could leave his things about, and being a stable buck and a cripple, he was more permanent than the other men, and he had accumulated more possessions than he could carry on his back."


Of Mice and Men