Analysis of Crooks from 'of Mice and Men'

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Of Mice and Men – Crook Analysis

The old stable-hand admits to the very loneliness that George describes in the opening pages of the novel. ‘Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’’ Crooks speaks these words to Lennie in Section 4, on the night that Lennie visits Crooks in his room. His resentment typically comes out through his bitter, caustic wit, but in this passage he displays a sad, touching vulnerability too.

Steinbeck describes Crooks as ‘a proud, aloof man’, which suggests that he keeps his distance and likes to retain some personal dignity and privacy. This is conveyed when he proclaims ‘You got no rights comin’ in a coloured man’s room.’ Lennie’s brief interaction with Crooks reveals the complexity of racial prejudice in the northern California ranch life as well. Though Crooks was born in California (not like many Southern blacks who had migrated, he implies), he is still always made to feel like an outsider, even in his home state. As a black man with a physical handicap, Crooks is forced to live on the periphery of ranch life. ‘A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin’, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by. I seen things out here. I wasn’t drunk. I don’t know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an’ then it would be all right. But I jus’ don’t know.’ This passage conveys Crooks’ s desire for a friend or company by whom to “measure” things echoes George’s earlier description of the life of a migrant worker. Because these men feel such loneliness, it is not surprising that the promise of a farm of their own and a life filled with strong, brotherly bonds holds such allure. Crooks tries to deflate Lennie’s hopes. He does when he...
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