Explore some of the ways in which the community of the ranch is depicted in ‘Of Mice and Men’.
The community of the ranch is cleverly portrayed by Steinbeck, and is used as a way of bringing together of a variety of characters in a way that is manageable and memorable for the reader. He portrays the general mindset of the migrant worker in different ways; how they act alone, in various circumstances, and most importantly together. The community of the ranch provides a physical and emotional setting for Steinbeck to explore and show us what he feels about the characters in his story.
The opening description of the bunk house immediately shows the lack of possessions owned by the ranch workers: ‘Over each bunk there was a nailed apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk.’ This connotes that the ranch workers owned very little more than what they wore, showing their shared sense of poverty and lack of security; as they travel from ranch to ranch so often they never get a chance to settle down and establish a real life and home.
As the men constantly travel alone, they all feel the need to confide and therefore love the idea of having a friend, companion or even just someone to talk to; as in the novel George explains: ‘I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone. That ain’t no good. They don’t have no fun. After a long time they get mean.’ This suggests that the ranch workers are all lonely, as they need somebody to be with, otherwise they change and ‘get mean’. Their need for a friend is reinforced as Whit shows his desperation to prove he has a friend when showing Slim his entry into a magazine, and his enjoyment in doing this. ‘Whit closed the magazine impressively’ As there is so little other than work in there lives, and because they have no permanent home the men seem to cling on to any social aspects of life, and in this case Whit is so proud of his friendship...
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