The bunkhouse is described as a “rectangular building” which gives the impression of it being long and thin in shape like a corridor representing the migrant’s narrow pathway in life. They don’t have hopes and dreams and they will never achieve anything and they only have one path which they are forced to take as there is no other way for them to go about life. The “rectangular building” also suggests how boring their lives must be. It is just like a boring straight edged shape with no bends of excitement or happiness.
Steinbeck describes the bunkhouse as plain dark hostile place with “small, square windows”, which creates the impression of a dark and lonely environment. Windows are supposed to bring light and are meant to give joy although these small windows suggest that not much happiness takes place in the lives of the migrants. Also, this can also portray the size of the migrants’ dreams. Small and surrounded by whitewashed conditions. Their dreams were suppressed and suffocated. circ.
Steinbeck uses light and darkness to illustrate powerful images, and show the despair and hopelessness that consumed the poor lives of the helpless migrants. This is revealed when he talks about how the “sun threw a bright dust-laden bar through one of the side windows” which represents the little hope in the bunk house and illuminates the darkness and harshness of society. Also, the sun reinforces the light and happiness in one’s life however it also goes down, so this symbolizes how all joy that enters the migrant’s lives quickly disappears. The “bar” can also represent the bars of a depressing, lifeless and miserable prison cell, suggesting the migrants are trapped in this “rectangular building” and they are forever alone, surrounded by “small windows” with no hope, no dreams and they do not live they only survive.