Of Mice and Men – Chapter Four - Crooks Essay
Crooks is a literate black man who tends horses on the ranch. He has long been the victim of oppressive violence and prejudice and has retired behind a facade of aloofness and reserve, his natural personality deadened and suppressed by years of antagonism. Crooks is the only black man in the novel. He has a cynical intelligence and a contemptuous demeanor that he uses to prevent others from inevitably excluding him because of his race. This sign of intelligence is conveyed when Steinbeck describes Crook’s bunkhouse: “And he had books, too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905” pg. 76 This illustrates the irony that Crooks is more intelligent than the other ranch hands but because of his colour, he is lower in status.
Steinbeck describes all of his belongings, creating a strong vivid picture in the readers head. The description of the room makes the reader aware that Crooks is ‘”more permanent than the other men”pg.75. I don’t believe this is through choice as Crooks is aware of his status and realises he wouldn’t be able to find work elsewhere; not only is he black, but a “cripple” pg.75 as well. In addition, he has “accumulated more possessions that he could carry on his back” pg.75 which supports the idea of a permanent stay.
Crook’s room is a place of solitude, but loneliness. He has his own space, but craves the attention of others. He sleeps on a “long box filled with straw” pg.75 which contrasts with the men in the bunkhouse as they have better beds and company. Furthermore, “scattered about the floor were a number of personal possessions” pg.75 relates to the idea of the permanent stay, rather than the other men who are itinerant workers. Crooks owns a “single-barreled shotgun” pg.76 which may suggest that he needs this weapon for security and protection. The idea of having a lot of books and “A pair of large-gold rimmed spectacles” pg.76 makes the reader feel as...
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