This chapter is about when George and Lennie are shown the bunkhouse and they are shown where they have to sleep and they meet all the different people who work on the ranch from Candy’s point of view firstly when he is being the guide and showing them around and then also when they meet them in person. The bunkhouse is the main setting of the novella and this is where the characters are most seen and therefore is the best indication of the harsh world of the ranch. When George first comes in and is shown his bed he finds a small yellow can that says “positively kills lice, roaches and other scourges.” George becomes very suspicious of the bed he has been given. This shows that the beds are probably infested with lice and roaches. Also in the description of the bunkhouse it says “… nailed an apple box … for all the personal belongings…” this shows that there is not much comfort if there is only an apple box nailed to the wall.
The bedding is only burlap sacking filled with straw which shows discomfort for all the workers. The description of the paintwork is showing there has been no work put into making the bunkhouse look good. “The walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted”. Candy is seen as the friendliest character in the second chapter as he tries to make George calm down when he is trying to argue about the yellow tin George found next to his bed, and then candy started being the peacemaker and stopping George from having an argument by taking time to explain things “tell you what … the last guy that had this bed … used to was his hand even after he ate”. Candy is also very weak as he is an old frail beaten up a man who has less status than the other workers. “stick-like wrists … stoop-shouldered old man … but no hand…” these are all traits that show his low status and show he is an old frail beaten up man.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $10
Candy tells George about the boss and says “well, he’s a pretty nice fella.” Showing that he likes the boss and thinks he is a nice kind man “drink hearty boys, Christmas comes but once a year.” He also tells George and Lennie how the boss treats the stable buck. When George and Lennie go and see the boss, the boss doesn’t like them and gets angry because they were late for work and he won’t let it go. “Says right here on the slip you were to be here for work this morning.” And then George tries to explain that the bus driver took them to the wrong place and they had to walk miles to get there, but the boss doesn’t seem to care and talks about him having to “… send out the grain teams short two buckers. Won’t do any good to go out now till after dinner.” He shows no sympathy and tries to make him seem like the good guy and him having to suffer for them being late for work. And then after that, he gives George a hard time because he’s not letting Lennie talk for himself and he thinks George is hiding something from the boss. “I said what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?”
When George and Lennie first meet Curley he is very arrogant and pugnacious as he wants to fight Lennie “his hands closed into fists … he stiffened and went into a slight crouch.” Showing signs that he wants a fight. “His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious.” I think Curley is seen as a bully on the ranch as he is a boxer “Curley’s pretty handy. He’s done quite a lot in the ring. He’s a lightweight, and he’s handy. The Swamper suggests that because Curley is the boss’s son then he won’t get sacked and shouldn’t be messed with “That’s the boss’s son.” Curley wants to look bigger than Lennie by being mean to him “well next time you answer when your spoke to.” I think Curley also wants to be mean to Lennie because Lennie is frightened and scared of Curley. “Lennie squirmed under the look and shirted on his feet nervously.”
Curley’s wife plays quite a small but significant role in the second chapter as she is the centre of attention for quite some time. Candy referred to her as a tart ” Curley’s married … a tart” and also says ” she got the eye” meaning she’s very flirtatious and she acts like everybody wants her and everybody likes her. She is always referred to as “Curley’s wife” as she is seen as Curley’s property and only his, even though she flirts with everybody. When she came in the room she had “full rouged lips…red mules…red ostrich feathers…red dress.” This red is associated with danger as she is dangerous and she should be left alone. The red dress is associated with the troubles in weed where Lennie held onto the girl’s dress. “She put her hands behind her back… her body was thrown forward.
George and Lennie’s reactions to the people they meet are first of Candy they like him because he is warning them of the troubles the other people can cause. Their reactions to Curley were that Lennie was scared of him because he didn’t want to get in a fight and George was that he didn’t like him picking on Lennie because Lennie is taller than him and because Lennie looks very strong. Curley’s wife is seen in two different ways one by George as her being a tart and wanting people to like her but George thinking she is just trouble and also she is seen by Lennie as a lovely lady who he starts to fancy, this bring some disagreement after she leaves. “Listen to me you crazy bastard…don’t you even take a look at that bitch.” George says this firstly because he doesn’t trust Curley’s wife and secondly to protect Lennie.