Steinbeck only uses one chapter on Crooks, however he has fully described him and helps the reader to understand his life at the ranch; Crooks is a “negro stable buck” who lives all by himself in the harness room, a little shed that leans of the wall the barn. His bunk is a long box filled with straw, with blankets on it. He had his apple box over his bunk, in which he had a range of medicine bottles, both for him and the horses. Being alone, he had a lot a number of “personal possessions” scattered around. This signifies his singleness because the fact that he lives all alone in room which he has all to himself, which not only allows him have as many possessions as he wants but gives him privacy, contrasting with the other men who lived in the bunk house, who had as little space as a apple box to keep their possessions and share a room with strangers. This alone implies how there is a massive difference between the life of Crooks and the lives of the men at the bunk house. He also is “more permanent” than the other men, implying that his stay might be a little longer or he is more definite to stay there and unlikely to move out. The author had used good word choice because it might represent how the way the people think of him will always be the same – black, unimportant and of a low standard. It seems like a permanent image of him has been created in the minds of other men, which is always fixed for him and other black people and will never change whatsoever. It’s more like a burden he has to carry around, rather than an ‘image’. This gives a lot of information on how black people were treated in the 1930’s, because of the segregation. White people showed no respect whatsoever and tried not to socialize/communicate with them, to this extent that he is not even allowed to sleep in the bunk house with the other men, but has to stay in a improper shed near the barn, where the equipment for the horses are kept. This indicates the lack of respect and dignity that is shown towards him. The fact that he stays behind the barn – where horses live – implies how he might be treated more of an animal than a human; showing no sort of humanity towards him. He doesn’t even have a proper bed, and has to sleep in a box, with hay in it. Hay is what horses sleep in. This exaggerates the sympatric imagery of him being treated like a nobody, just an animal living in the barn that nobody cares about. The things he possesses might also guide us to his personality/behaviour. He had “several pairs of shoes” and “a pair of rubber boots”, suggesting he is quite adventurous, or likes going on outings or enjoys walking/hiking. The fact that he has a “big alarm clock” might represent his punctuality. He also has a “single barrelled shotgun” indicating he has always got protection on him and is ready to defend himself. He has various different types of books too, like a “tattered dictionary” and “a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905”. This was a book about the civil rights movement. This might give the reader a brief idea of Crooks dream to stop the segregation and to bring an end to the discrimination the Black’s face and spread equality around the nation. It was “mauled”, maybe because it is an old book and weak now, that it is in a bad condition, maybe relating to him, how he’s quite old and weak now to make a difference for the nation or fight for the rights of the black people. He also has other books, like “battered magazines”, which he might look at occasionally and “a few dirty books”, which hint us of what his idea of time-pass might be, since he doesn’t have anything else to do all day. They are placed on a “special shelf over his bunk”, maybe because he wants to differentiate it from the more important and formal books like the dictionary and the book on civil rights movement. This might imply his true goal of life – bringing equality to his people, and he doesn’t want to get distracted by things like that. Crooks...
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