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How Does Steinbeck Portray Crooks as a Character?

By NiyiAderounmu1 Dec 05, 2012 533 Words
How does Steinbeck portray Crooks as a character?
Steinbeck portrays Crooks as an intelligent man ‘’California Civil Code’’ Crooks strives to be literate on his own and he wants to be aware of the few right has as a black man. It also shows that he is intelligent because with the little schooling he has it looks like he wants to better himself. Crooks is being separated due to his skin colour. ‘’A little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn’’ we can infer that this is the location for Crooks and indicates loneliness because the other ranchers sleep together in one location while he is by himself. This ties in with how he is being treated ‘’medicine bottles both for him and the horses’’ ‘’both’’ indicates that he is being treated like a horse at certain times. Steinbeck portrays Crooks through the use of racism ‘’Listen Nigger’’ at that period racism was still considered so to portray racism Steinbeck in manipulating the reader to develop sympathy for Crooks. Steinbeck continues to develop our sympathy by demonstrating his situation. ‘I could get you strung up a tree so easily it isn’t funny’’ we can infer that at that period Black people were inferior to white people depending on circumstances. If Crooks does something bad he will get severely punished. ‘What she says is true’’ here Crooks shows that acceptance of his position that he is black and is at the bottom of the pile as a human being. Crooks is quite defensive to white people. ‘I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse and you ain’t in my room’’ This demonstrates that he doesn’t want them in for the way they have treated him which illustrates racism. You could question that this portrays the loneliness of Crooks because of him being alone. Steinbeck introduces historical context to challenge our views as well as showing us difference. ‘’The white kids come to play at our place an sometimes I went to play with them’’ Steinbeck challenges our perception of racism as well as showing us equality in historical context. It also allows the reader to learn more depth about racism at that time. As well as challenging our view, Steinbeck introduces a change of opinion on the matter. ‘My ol’man didn’t like that’ this also shows racism but from a different point of view to allows us to understand the view of racism from both sides of race. Steinbeck portrays Crooks by having him describe a black man’s loneliness ‘s’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy cause you was black’’ In contrast to the American dream which is prosperity, he has to escape racism and discrimination. This shows isolation because he is being left abandoned in his own shack. As a human being he has a deformity by his lack of socialization. Steinbeck reinforces the fact that he has a ‘California civil code book’ ‘A coloured man got to have some rights even if he don’t like em’ It reiterates that Crooks is determined to find more rights for people like him however in that time racism still existed which creates sympathy by his inability to impose his rights.

Niyi Aderounmu

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