How does John Steinbeck present the character of Crooks?
In the novel "Of Mice and Men" John Steinbeck, the author, uses the character of Crooks to represent racism and symbolize the marginalization of the black community occurring at the time in which the novel is set. Crooks is significant as he provides an insight into the reality of the American Dream and the feelings of all the ranchers: their loneliness and need for company and human interaction. Crooks got his name from his "crooked back," this suggests he represents something different and he is not your average ranch hand. The reader has to decide whether Crooks deserves sympathy, or if he is just a bitter, cruel and gruff stable-buck. We first hear of Crooks when Candy calls him a "nigger," this is meant as a white insult, in our time this would be seen as racism and unacceptable. This implies that the term "nigger" is acceptable and the time period is in the 1930's during the Depression era. The term "nigger" is used by most of the ranch hands, this proves that the term is used casually and black people were seen as not worthy and lesser humans. John Steinbeck describes Crooks' room in depths, "little room," and "battered magazines and a few dirty books." Steinbeck does this because Crooks represents something different like Lennie and Curly's wife. Crooks is ostracised by the whites at the ranch and he resents this. As he says “If I say something, why it's just a nigger sayin' it" and this shows his anger at being pushed to the side. Being oppressed has made him seem cruel and gruff, but also has turned him to self-pity and the notion that he is a lesser human. He says to Lennie "You got no right to come in my room.....You go on get outa my room. I ain't wanted in the bunkhouse and you ain't wanted in my room." He continues by saying that the whites believe he stinks and one can interpret this as a way of saying that the whites would find it a disgrace that a nigger should breathe the same...
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