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However an unprecedented rainfall which went on for a month changed all that. House-ridden, the boys grew tired of squatting on the floor. Their eyes become outraged by the bare board walls. Because it had sheltered them the house grew dear to them (7.3)
They're growing to like the place, but notice Steinbeck still doesn't use the word home. What's the difference between a house and home? When does one become the other?
But once installed in the Palace Flophouse [the stove] was the glory and the hearth and the center. Its nickel flowers and foliage shone with a cheery light. It was the gold tooth of the Palace. Fired up, it warmed the big room. Its oven was wonderful and you could fry an egg on its shiny black lids (7.6)
The stove really ties the place together. If the stove were a character, what would it be like? It would be cheerful and generous. And probably pretty heavy.
With the great stove came pride, and with pride, the Palace became home. [ . . . ] Mack and the boys loved the Palace and they even cleaned it a little sometimes. In their minds they sneered at unsettled people who had no house to go to and occasionally in their pride they brought a guest home for a day or two (7.6)
This is a home made of pride and love, but notice that Mack and the boys went from guys who prefer living outdoors to guys who "[sneer] at unsettled people who had no house to go to." Are they getting kind of snobby? Or is this excusable pride, since, you know, they're living in a warehouse?