Of Mice and Men Chapter 2

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Of Mice and Men
Chapter 2 ResponseWyatt Paxton

Steinbeck introduced many new characters over the course of the second chapter, most of which are not set at the ranch in Soledad, and met in the bunk house. This new living space, known as the bunk house, provides proof of a very simplistic lifestyle. The small boxes given to each worker for their possessions shows in depth the limited amount of items they have. Each character have attributes and characteristics that differed from one another. Among these new characters is the old swamper, Curley, Curley's wife, Carlson, Slim, and Crooks. Crooks, who is "a nigger" (Steinbeck,), acquired the role to be "the stable buck" where "the boss [gives him] hell" when he gets angry. As far as social hierarchy the boss, who "gets pretty mad sometimes, but [is a] pretty nice" (22) guy, holds the most power throughout the ranch, and is closely followed by a character named Slim. This is an extremely interesting insight on how race is approached and dealt with on the ranch. Although Crook's is a "nice fella" many take it for granted that he should be treated badly since he is black. This notion seems to be imprinted in the minds of the ranchers, even when people such as the old man are full of compliments for Crook's.

George and Lennie have a very strange relationship. The guys that "work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in they world. They got no family" (13-14) which is the main reason why Lennie and George have stuck together. Nobody wants to be apart from family in hard times like these. Times have significantly changed in George and Lennie's life. Therefore, they "better start swimmin', or [they will] sink like a stone" (Bob Dylan) in terms of success and hard work. Some believe in a time where hard work runs parallel with achievement. This is not the case, as Steinbeck portrays a time and place where social hierarchy controls the ranch. Curly, who is a fairly powerful figure among the men, "hates big guys"...
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