How does Steinbeck portray life on the ranch in Chapter 2 of "Of Mice and Men"?

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In the opening of chapter 2, the ranch is presented in a very poor state. As George and Lennie enter the ‘bunk house’, they immediately feel uncomfortable and hostile due to the extremely poor lack of hygiene and privacy of where they are expected to sleep while working on the ranch. This is shown when George finds an insect repellent in his bed, and asks Candy “What the hell kinda bed you giving us”. This shows the living conditions on the ranch, and Candy’s response insinuates that precautions such as keeping insect repellents were common.

When Candy indicates to George and Lennie their beds, George feels insulted as to find his mattress is a “sack of straw”, in response to George’s outburst, Candy tries to make him feel comfort when mentioning the cleanliness of the ‘blacksmith’ that previously lived on that bed, and how he used to “wash his hands before and after meals”. By mentioning this, shows that this is an unordinary way to live in comparison to an everyday lifestyle of a guy on a ranch, in which this adds to the semantic field of poor hygiene. Steinbeck also presents George as an exception to the filthy ranch workers as he “made his bed up neatly with blankets”.

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 Life on the ranch is presented as being very simple and basic as the ranch workers don’t have any luxury of any kind as they simply cannot afford it due to the fact they are ‘trapped’ in a cycle of poverty, where on the one hand they get paid for their work, and on the other hand, they have to pay the ranch owner for their substandard living quarters. They only have the very bare necessities so we see as George places on the apple crate for a shelf ‘his razor and a bar of soap, his comb and bottle ...

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