The Treatment of Crooks at the Start of Chapter 4 of of Mice and Men

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Steinbeck shows Crooks in a lot of ways. He talks about his room and what’s in it, the possessions showing a lot about his character. In chapter 4 you can really tell roughly how black Americans in the 1930’s were treated. With disrespect, regarded as unimportant, only for doing jobs.

At the start of Chapter 4 of Of Mice and Men, Crooks is called ‘the negro stable buck’ almost as if he isn’t worthy of any other nicer names. The adjectives they use to describe him are ‘negro’. Not tall etc but ‘negro’, he’s described like this to show how he isn’t worth getting to know. They might describe the other men as ‘funny’ or ’boring’ Steinbeck doesn’t present Crooks as anything other than negro showing they haven’t taken the time to talk with him because he isn’t as good as them.

Crooks’ bunk is described as ‘a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn’ , this could mean that he isn’t worthy of an actual room, because he is black and blacks in the 1930’s were treated as animals. They weren’t classed as a person, just someone there to do jobs for them. Not meritorious enough for an actual room like the rest of the residents at the ranch. However, Steinbeck could have done this to represent the fact that he is a stable buck, so he must tend to the animals at all times therefore he lives in a stable. The novelist could have written this in a non-intentionally racist way, only to represent his work as a stable buck.

However, in his small shed Crooks has plenty of books and shoes and things that a normal black American may not have had. In the time of slavery blacks came with the clothes on their backs only to be given a rag or something to wear. Crooks was lucky in this sense that he had possessions of his own, he had things to wear, so maybe he wasn’t as mistreated as people thought. He also had ‘battered magazine and a few dirty books’, this shows that he could be in fact, intellectual and have had an education to be able to read. He wasn’t a slave; he...
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