Of Mice and Men

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In the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ the character of Crooks is subject to constant racial discrimination. This shows the time period of the book as 1930’s America was a very prejudice and racist place. Crook, the only black character in ‘Of Mice and Men’, is immediately put in a disadvantaged position. Steinbeck immediately makes it very clear that Crooks is black in quotations such as ‘Sure. Ya see the stable buck’s a nigger.’ This being the first time we hear about Crooks in the novel and the reference to him as ‘a nigger’ instead of ‘Crooks’ instantly puts him at a disadvantage as the only character, so far, without a name. Crooks that experiences isolation because the society in which he resides is racist. The quote "A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick" was his way of finding a personal connection to Lennie. Like Lennie, Crooks has a 'relationship' with loneliness. Crooks is rejected from every group of people and cannot socially interact with others properly due to this rejection. It could be suggested that, when he see’s Lennie’s similar inability to interact with society, that he lets down his hostile guard a little. This is evident in the quotation ‘Crooks scowled, but Lennie’s disarming smile defeated him.’ Stienbeck’s choice of the word ‘defeated’ depicts a slightly closer relationship, however slight, between Lennie and Crooks.

On the theme of relationships Crooks is fascinated by the strength of the friendship of Lennie and George, especially how close they are. Crooks said, "Well, s'pose, jus' s'pose he don't come back. What'll you do then?" Crooks asks these questions because he doesn’t have any companions, and wouldn’t know how loosing them unexpectedly would feel. He was curious and envious of the friendship of Lennie and George and, in the understanding of Lennie’s slowness, he takes advantage of the situation to torture him mentally...
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