Of Mice and Men

Topics: Of Mice and Men, Great Depression, John Steinbeck Pages: 3 (819 words) Published: March 3, 2014

In the novel ' Of mice and men' John Steinbeck uses the character Crooks to represent racism across America and symbolise the marginalisation of the black community at the time the novel is set. From the beginning Steinbeck skillfully uses Crooks as a tool to give the reader an insight to the reality of the American Dream and what 1930's America was like. The reader has to decide whether Crooks deserves sympathy, or is just a bitter, cruel 'stable-buck'.

Steinbeck presents Crooks as a victim of racism throughout the entire book, Firstly Crooks is the only black man on the ranch illustrating that he is an outcast. We first here of Crooks when Candy refers to him as a 'nigger', although acceptable at the time the word dehumanises Crooks and shows the lack of respect he receives from other members on the ranch. Ostracised by the white members on the ranch, Crooks resents it As he says ' If I say something, why it's just a nigger sayin' it' this depicts Crooks as someone that has turned to self- pity and the notion that he is a lesser human than his white counterparts. He says to Lennie 'I ain't wanted in the bunk house and you ain't wanted in my room' he carries on saying 'they say I stink' which can be interpreted that the white members on the ranch would find it appalling if a 'nigger' would breathe the same air in the bunkhouse as them.

The ambiance of Crook's room reflects a lot on his personality. A lot of the objects in his 'little shed' were described as 'broken', this echoes onto Crook's personality by the fact he is 'broken' in himself and is shunned by the other ranch members. Despite the fact Crooks picked up his name because of his 'crooked back' Steinbeck cleverly links this into the title of the book. 'Of mice and man' compares a man to the same level to mice. Crooks back injury is due to a horse kicking him in the back, this indicates that Steinbeck is trying to express that even an animal is worth more than him.

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