To think, all those years I lay in that chicken house, and I did not know any pleasure. But now, oh, now I am very happy.
After the Pirate turns his money over to Danny and Pilon in Chapter 7, he expresses the joy that he feels for having friends with this quote. When the Pirate was living along in the chicken house, he had everything he needed. He had plenty of food, a roof over his head, a mission and life, and some degree of companionship in his dogs. With quotes like this, Steinbeck is saying that it is good to have all of these things, but true pleasure in life comes from having stimulating and caring friends. The Pirate had never realized what he was missing until he had it. His inability to recognize that most basic need of human nature was part of how his mind had not grown up with his body. For a boy, dogs are enough, but a man needs friends who challenge him, include him, and help him when he is in need. This can also be seen as a commentary on society in the modern world. The comforts that Steinbeck saw people wasting their lives for in New York are like the comforts that the Pirate had in his chicken coup. Without friendship, life is without meaning.