The character Crooks is explored thoroughly by John Steinbeck, exposing the consequences of racism, isolation, segregation, dreams and friendships, through the novella 'Of Mice and Men'. Although Crooks is not prominent throughout the text he is highlighted as significant especially in section four of the novella. He is portrayed as an educated black man with a crooked back who often has a pessimistic view upon things. One of the main links made with the character Crooks is the act of slavery. In spite the fact that slavery had been abolished in 1865, Steinbeck used the only black man in the novella to be seen as isolated and segregated by the other ranch workers. Steinbeck also showed the tired and lonesome side of Crooks which emphasised the consequence of the treatment he was receiving; exploiting the general treatment of black people that was actively taking place in America at the time. 'Of Mice and Men' is set during the Great Depression in Soledad, California, where John Steinbeck was born and brought up. The irony of this setting can be linked with Crooks due to 'Soledad' meaning loneliness and isolation in Spanish. The very title, 'Of Mice and Men' can also be linked with Crooks due to the title being taken from a famous poem written by Robert Burns. The suggested meaning behind this title is that 'the best laid plans often go awry,' which is what Crooks had suggested to Lennie about his plans of owning a farm with his friend George. Furthermore, this also aligns with Crooks pessimistic views of things too. The analysis of Crooks in this essay aims to inquire Crooks's relevance to the themes, his difference and similarities to other characters and why Steinbeck portrayed him as he did.
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