How does Steinbeck’s presentation of the bunk house in section 2 reveal the harsh conditions of ranch life? Essay

How does Steinbeck’s presentation of the bunk house in section 2 reveal the harsh conditions of ranch life?

Steinbeck presents the harsh and cruel conditions of ranch life as a microcosm - How does Steinbeck’s presentation of the bunk house in section 2 reveal the harsh conditions of ranch life? Essay introduction? He is depicting life in America in the 1930’s making sure that we understand how much citizens suffered during the New York Wall Street Crash. Ranch life affected the lives of many people in America, some of who has become miserable and unhappy. Steinbeck shows the conditions of ranch life using dialect. After describing the “bright dust-laden bar of light” creating a beautiful and peaceful scenario, Steinbeck interrupts this with the cruel rough voice of Candy saying to George and Lennie, “the boss was expectin’ you last night.” Steinbeck shows us that George and Lennie cannot make their own rules and how they must obey the strict rules of the ranch now. Steinbeck determines Candy’s social class by using phonetic spelling.

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This suggests that the bottom of the hierarchy is where they belong. By the description Steinbeck presents us with of the bunk house, we empathise with many of the characters. We understand that the characters live and work in poor conditions based on Steinbeck’s portrayal. “Near one wall there was a black cast-iron stove.” This suggests how physically small the bunk house is as the stove is close to the bunks. In modern day we would consider placing a stove next to a bed as a health hazard but, Steinbeck presents this in a way that shows us how they cannot choose the life that they wish to have instead they have to live the life given to them, no matter how dangerous and hard that life may be. Steinbeck mentions that there are “small, square windows” in the bunk house. This proves how the characters suffer from entrapment in the bunk house but they are helpless.

Although Curley’s wife does not physically live in terrible conditions, Steinbeck introduces her with much insecurity, therefore making life on the ranch rather cruel, emotionally, for her. Although the men on the ranch are a lower class to her, she is willing to degrade herself for attention. “Well – she got the eye.” As the conversation is between George and Candy, this suggests how Curley’s wife already has a bad reputation on the ranch even though she has only been married for two weeks. Although Steinbeck presents her as an object we sympathise with her as the fact that she is a woman and evidently not named proves that in theory she is a lower status to Crooks who is at the bottom of the hierarchy due to his black skin colour. Unlike Curley’s wife, Steinbeck presents Crooks as a character that lives in harsh conditions both physically and emotionally. Because of his black skin colour, he is constantly racially discriminated. All characters on the ranch know him as the “nigger” and although it is a racist word, Steinbeck shows how people during the Wall Street Crash were not concerned about his feelings. In fact, they treat the animals with more respect than Crooks him. Although Candy calls him “a pretty nice fella” Steinbeck proves how that is all irrelevant as he cannot change his skin colour.

Crooks’ personality is pleasant, but Steinbeck presents the other characters on the ranch with a judgemental mind, and so because of his skin colour, he is isolated from the others. Although being a small, physically, Steinbeck shows Curley to create havoc on the ranch and consequently make life harder for the people living on the ranch. Steinbeck presents this as “Curley lashed his body around.” The word “lashed” describes the way Curley moves around the ranch, as a hard, rough man with a large ego. The complete opposite to his size physically. By the way Steinbeck introduces him; we understand that he would cause many of the problems on the ranch. Steinbeck’s presentation of the bunk house in section 2 is a microcosm. He is trying to inform his readers about the mentality of the citizens of America during the time of the New York Wall Street Crash.

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