How does Steinbeck use description of setting to reflect the theme of discrimination in Chapter 4?
In Chapter 4, Steinbeck cleverly uses scenic description to show the discrimination of Crooks. This is shown by, “On one side of the little room there was a square four-paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn…strips of cracked leather; and under the window itself a little bench for leather-working…” This suggests that the shed, where Crooks spent his entire life, was very basic and uncomfortable with a lack of furniture; it seems like a highly unpleasant place to live and infers that it is just a store room for tools. This indicated that Crooks is seen merely as a piece of equipment. Furthermore, the phrase “square four-paned window” shows the austere nature of the barn and shows how Crooks has a lack of value in his life, as though he is living on the very bare essentials of life, because he needs nothing more. In a metaphorical sense, the window can be seen as a picture frame, showing an image of a 2 dimensional world. It is impossible for us to be in a 2D world, and this is what is reflected in the description – it is impossible for Crooks to be part of the outside world, as a member of the `normal` society – it is an image to be seen and not touched, a dream both abstract and intangible to be imagined, and desired but never experienced. In addition, the “strips of leather” indicate that Crooks is puts on a hard exterior, but cracks are starting to show in its surface. This shows that his feelings are starting to come out, but are still left in the corner because nobody wants to know about them. The fact that the bench is under the window also suggests that Crooks can’t bear to look out of it, because he knows that he will never be able to be part of it. The sentences in the scenic description of Chapter 4 are predominantly simple and compound, and the characters speak in short, quick sentences, sometimes speaking in fragments...
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