Of Mice and Men - Cultural References
Of Mice and Men (1939) publicity still. Betty Field (Mae) and Bob Steele (Curley).
Bindle: A bag, sack, or carrying device.
Bindle Stiff: Hobo; transient who carries his belongings in a sack.
Bunk House: A sleeping quarters intended for use by multiple people.
Talcum Powder: Very similar in texture to baby powder, talcum powder was used mainly after bathing or shaving.
Apple Box: A box used for storage or as a stepstool capable of holding a person's weight.
Scourges: A widespread affliction, an epidemic illness or the consequence of some natural disaster, likke fire, flood, or a migration of locusts..
Pants Rabbits: A sexually transmitted disease, known as pubic lice.
Graybacks: The equivalent of ticks or lice.
Liniment: A topical cream for the skin that helps with pain or rashes.
Jerkline Skinner: Lead driver of a team of mules
Stable Buck: A derogatory name for an African-American man who works in the stables.
Stetson Hat: A famous brand of hats, especially cowboy hats.
Swamper: A general assistant; handyman.
Murray and Ready: An employment agency, specializing in farm work.
Work Slips: Proof that people had been hired to do a job.
Cultivator: A farming tool used to stir and soften the soil either before or after planting.
Cesspool: A well or pit filled with drainage or sewage.
Slough: A muddy or marshy area.
Tart: A woman who tempts men or who is sexually promiscuous.
Buck Barley: To throw large bags of barley on a truck.
Lynch: To illegally execute a person, generally applied to the hanging and/or burning of African-Americans in the south.
Slug of Whiskey: Equivalent to a hipflask of whiskey.
Gut Ache: A stomach ache.
Airedale: A type of dog, specifically Terrier.
Pulp Magazine: During the 1920s-1950s, inexpensive fiction magazines. From 1950 on, the term also came to represent mass market paperbacks.
Luger: The Luger pistol was an expensive, high maintenance weapon manufactured and used primarily in the German army.
Euchre: A card game played in England, Canada, and some parts of the U.S.
Two Bits: Twenty-Five cents.
Rag Rug: Rugs created from rags that were tied together by knots.
Kewpie Doll: A particular style of doll, one that was usually won at carnivals.
Phonograph: The first device for recording and playing sound, most specifically music.
Parlor House: Could be considered a restaurant, but more often parlor houses were brothels.
Hutches: A form of furniture, very similar to a wardrobe.
Welter: A boxer (refers to welterweight, a weight class in boxing).
Nail keg: A wooden barrel that could usually hold 100 pounds or more inside.
Russian Hill: Affluent residential neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
Travels with a Donkey: Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879), one of Robert Louis Stevenson's earliest published works.
Varro: Marcus Terentius Varro (116-29 B.C.E.), Roman scholar/author and horticulturist.
Velasquez's Cardinal: Seventeenth-century painting by Spanish painter Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez.
Zane Grey: American adventure novelist (1872-1939).