Steinbeck uses place within the novel deliberately to expose a microcosm in the macrocosm of society, the wishes to emphasise themes of racism, murder segregation and the American Dream and uses his depiction of place and setting to do so. The first location depicted by Steinbeck at the beginning of the novella is the Pool like setting. It is initially described as a beautiful place; this is reinforced by the adjectives “yellow” and “twinkling”.
The adjective yellow, although doesn’t seem very important within the description of the first paragraph, is commonly associated with happiness, furthermore the brilliance of the adjective “twinkling” suggest that something is very rich and sparkly. However, the pool like area is described in such a way that it sounds faultless; the reader may begin to think that it is too good to be true. The writer may have done this purposely as a way of foreshadowing, creating an ominous undertone which could be indicative of a theme further on in the novella.
Additionally, the quotation “tracks of deer come to drink in the dark” adds to how safe the pool like area is, however this safety may not last that long foreboding the death of Lennie. One pivotal location represented by Steinbeck for the first time within chapter 2 is the Bunk house. When he first introduces the reader to it, he states that the Bunkhouse is a “long rectangular building” and “inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted”.
The adjective “rectangular” gives the impression of the Bunk house being simple, bland and boring, this is further reinforced by how simple and terrible the lives of the workers within the Bunk house are, even though it is aimed to show comfort within the Ranch and a place where they can rest. Furthermore, the adjectives “whitewashed” and “unpainted” suggest that the interior of the bunkhouse is like life on the ranch, it’s plain and simple, essentially very boring, and yet it contains workers. This also symbolises how the workers are treated like tools, uncared for in practical housing.
There are many more quotations to reinforce how meagre the lives of the workers are such as “nailed an apple box with an opening to make 2 shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk”. Suggests how even personal belongings is kept within a dusty old apple box. This further reinforces how their personal belongings, something they should cherish and hold on to isn’t cherished at all and is placed within an apple box. This related to how the migrant workers are placed within a Bunk house which has very poor and bad conditions. One very essential location illustrated by Steinbeck at the beginning of Chapter 4 is Crooks’ room.
Crooks is an old crooked black man who is hated by most of the Ranch workers, he lives on his own in a harness room; “a little shed that leaned of the wall of the barn”. Steinbeck initially describes they room as being “little”, this implies that it like prison that he is trapped inside and cannot escape it. Steinbeck repeats the adjective “little” throughout chapter 4 to reinforce the idea of a prison; here are some quotations “little shed”, “little bench”. The idea of a prison is further developed by the use of simple shapes such as square to enhance the idea of his room being simple, bland and potentially dull.
This is backed up by the quotation “square four-paned window”. The quotations “broken harness” and “broken haem” suggests that although he “has more possessions than he can carry on his back” most of them are broken; this could be potentially anger of being isolated from all the other workers on the Ranch. The repetition of words such as “several” and “accumulating” further reinforces that he contains a lot of possessions even more than the other Ranch workers, he also posses more privacy because he lives on his own, however Crooks prefers to have company than to become isolated from the other men on the Ranch.
The verbs “harness” and “hame” are both objects used to care for animals, this illuminates that he wants as much company he can get (even from animals), however for black people ( in the 1930s) that was very hard. There are many more quotations that support the idea of him caring or his animals, such as “spilt collar”, “horsehair stuffing” and “trace chain”. One extremely essential place represented by Steinbeck within chapter 5, is the Barn. He originally describes it as “great”; this reinforces the idea of it being large and grandeur in contrast with the poor conditions of the Bunk house.
Although Steinbeck utilizes the adjective “great” to imply large and possibly wealthy building as farming has become more urbanised, this is where Curley’s wife dies. Steinbeck deploys the onomatopoeic verbs “humming” and “buzzing” to represent a calm atmosphere within the Barn compared to the atmosphere outside where the men are “jeering” and “laughing”. Furthermore, the verbs “hung” and “suspended” idealizes the theme of murder; the four Jackson fork suspended from its pulley”. This may forbade the death of Curley’s wife.
Throughout the first page of chapter 5 there is a constant use of anaphora; Lennie sat, Lennie looked. Steinbeck may employ the foreboding of something tragic towards the end of the novella. After the death of Curley’s wife a pigeon flew inside and flew in circles and then flew outside. This could suggest that the pigeon is following the trail of hope as it leaves the Barn. This foreshadows that the American dream may not be achievable or that all hope of escaping this meagre way of living.