What Do We Learn About Crooks in Chapter 4 of “of Mice and Men

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What Do We Learn About Crooks in Chapter 4 of “Of Mice and Men”?

This essay will uncover information about the “Negro Stable Buck”, named Crooks in of Mice and Men. The essay will analyze information regarding crooks, in link to themes such as the unattainable American dream, themes of racial discrimination , as well as themes such as loneliness and isolation. An understanding of the character of Crooks requires an understanding of the status of black people in the West during the time of when the book is set, during the 1920s Depression, as it can be seen during the novel, and especially throughout Chapter 4, that Crook’s experiences on the ranch were those almost indistinguishable from the rest of Black Americans during the era when jobs were short, money was hard to earn, and racial tensions were running high.

Chapter 4 provides solid evidence that crooks is a lonely man, who is isolated from the rest of the ranch, most probably as a result of his skin color. “I aint wanted in the bunk house…They play cards in there, but I can’t, because I’m Black”, gives the reader the impression that because of Crook’s skin color, he is isolated from the farm, and especially the communal, white only, bunk house, where the ranch workers eat, sleep, and entertain themselves and each other. “I was talkin’ about myself. A guy sets alone out here at night, thinking. He got nothing and no one to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so”, as well as “…A guy needs somebody—to be near him…A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya…I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick…” are further quotes which totally substantiate the concept of Crook’s loneliness. The quote “I aint a Southern Negro, I was born in California…There wasn’t a colored family for miles around, and now there ain’t a colored man on this ranch…If I say somethin’, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it..”, can be seen to mean that because Crook’s was born in the West, there were never a substantial amount of fellow “Negro’s”, as there were during that era in Southern states such as Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma. It can also be said, that from these quotes we learn that Crooks has never really interacted with other Black people, bar his family, and has always been looked down upon in contrast to White people.

Next, there is the issue of Crooks and his unattainable American dream. It can be seen that the theme of attaining an American Dream is recurring, and one sought after by other characters such as George, Lenny, Candy, and Curley’s wife. In Chapter 4, we can infer that Crook’s wishes too to have his own “American Dream”, and that it is one where he wishes he can be considered an equal, in regards to his current lower status in society in dissimilarity to the white men. From the quote “He had a mauled copy of the California Civil Code for 1905”, we can conjecture that for the interim time, Crooks wishes to learn, revise, and practice his rights as a Black man on the ranch occupied solely with White men, with a White boss. We can further see examples of Crook’s “American Dream”, later on in the chapter. When Crook’s comes to the realization that collectively George, Lennie and Candy have the finances and will power to actually fulfill there dream of owning there own ranch where they can live and work as free men, something which Crook’s has never actually seen or believe was possible. Crook’s offers to work on their ranch for free, in return for being treated as an equal. This can be seen from quotes such as; “I never seen a guy REALLY do it….If you guys would want a hand to work for nothing, just his keep, why ‘d come an’ lend a hand”. We can only assume from this quote that despite knowing his rights as a black man on a farm, he is constantly reminded on the Soledad Ranch that he is a black person, in regards to his rights. Despite seeming excited by the idea of joining the new ranch with...
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