dip chicken in a whitewash tank

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opjeshke

Senior Member
Albanian
I have an issue with "East of Eden". One guy that lives in the country tells her sister about his future plans:

"And chickens—I’m going to raise millions of them—little houses all over the ranch and a ring on the roof to dip them in a whitewash tank. And eggs will come through on a little conveyor belt—here!"

Now, why should someone dip chickens in whitewash? Is that some specific procedure or I am understanding something totally wrong? The Italian translation of the same sentence is literal. I have no more context than this, sorry!

Reference: "East of Eden" by John Steincbeck
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    No, he is going to dip the houses in a whitewash tank. That's what the ring is for, so that the house can be hoisted up. Whitewash is a common treatment for chicken coops.

    P.S. to Pertinax: No, the book actually has "whitewash."
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Thank you, Glenfarclas. The archive.org version is a photocopy of the book published by Pan in 1960. The word "whitewashed" occurs on p377. The book was first published in 1952 by Viking, according to Wiki - is it that edition that uses "whitewash"?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'm looking at the Library of America version that you can (hopefully) see here.

    I don't deny that that's what your version says, but I think it must be a mistake. Who cares whether the tank itself is whitewashed? What would you need to dip a chicken coop into it for, what else is it supposed to contain?
     
    Last edited:

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I agree with you. Chickens might be dipped in a whitewashed tank during poultry production, but this is describing egg-production. Your reading is more plausible. I think that Pan (a UK publisher) wrongly transcribed the book.
     
    Last edited:
    There are many references to whitewashing the places chickens are kept. It kills many pests and bacteria.
    Glenfarclas in post #3 is right on. The 'ring' makes sense if the houses are small and portable.

    There are many accounts of chickens, killed, being dipped--usually in 150 degree water. Whitewash would be toxic (to whoever later ate the chicken). The only time you'd put quicklime on a chicken would be so its body would be destroyed. Its body thrown into a garbage pit (in case a bunch of chickens had a disease).
     

    opjeshke

    Senior Member
    Albanian
    I found everywhere the importance of whitewashing the coops, but the idea of whitewashing the chickens was totally strange. I think as well the ring is the key. Thank you every one, your help is crucial!
     
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