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By wilkemil10 May 16, 2015 660 Words
In this section of the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Steinbeck presents the black Stable Buck, Crooks, as petulant, lonely, yet he is not portrayed by Steinbeck in a stereotypical manor. In the setting description of Crooks’ isolated bunk, it is described that he owns a “tattered dictionary” and a book on Californian Law. This demonstrates to the audience how he is well educated. A working-class black person during the Depression era of 1930s America would have been unlikely to grow up with many educational opportunities, but this interesting detail suggests Crooks’ desire to self-educate and self-improve. It also suggests that he cares about his legal rights as a citizen, which may have been threatened or undermined at various times within his life. The pessimistic adjective “dirty” is ambiguous and could have been intended by Steinbeck for two reasons. Firstly, it could show physical dirt, showing the long length of time that he has owned it for. However, it also suggests that he has spent a lot of time reading the books due to the underlined theme of loneliness. These books, as well as an educational motivation could also act as a distraction from the isolation and impertinent attitudes directed at him by the white ranch hands. This idea of loneliness would make the reader sympathize with Crooks and would give them a better understanding of blacks working on ranches in America during the Great Depression. However it would also aid with the comprehension of eliminating black stereotypes as Crooks character, devised by Steinbeck, contradicts this unjust concept they were stereotyped around. In “Of Mice and Men”, Steinbeck uses the character of Crooks to convey ideas about racism in 1930 America during the Great Depression. Crooks is the only black man in the novella who is ostracized by the other ranch hands and it is through his character that we experience the view of blacks in America during 1930s. Crooks doesn’t live in the bunkhouse with the other ranchers but in his own isolated room in the barn instead. He is openly named “n****r”, which reveals to the audience the casual racism directed at him by the ranch workers. Although this remark is impudent, the ranchers don’t intend to insult him personally, as no-one knows him ; the act of discrimination is only committed by the white ranchers as it is what they know to do and have learned. The insult “n****r” signals to the audience that blacks were verbally degraded by whites everywhere in America during the Dust Bowl. Following Crooks displaying to Curley’s wife his vilified attitude, Curley’s wife threatens Crooks and goes on to taunt him and says what she could do if he ”opens his trap”. Curley’s wife doesn’t actually go on to say what she will do, but leaves it open to the interpretation of the reader. This insult would make Crooks fearful of her as she could get him fired meaning that he would be forced to experience the catastrophic world of poverty and unemployment due to the Depression era. This was a great fear that many blacks shared in America. Curley’s Wife’s choice of the derogatory noun “trap” is a disparaging description for his mouth. This isn’t the first time that Crooks has been compared to an animal. This parallels to the character Lennie, who is also described using animalistic imagery. This suggests to the reader that they share the same social status; mental disabilities are as lowly regarded as skin colour. An audience of 1930s America would sympathise with Crooks, as they would see first-hand how difficult his life was, however this was the accepted standard so it would not be viewed as horrific as an audience from the 21st Century might view it, as the modern world has undertaken a revolution of racial prejudice at an attempt to improve attitudes towards different ethnicities. This point is proven in the action pf Curl

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