How is Crooks presented in Of Mice and Men?

7 July 2016

Towards the beginning of the passage Steinbeck describes Crooks’ belongings to be basic and simple. He owns ‘a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code’. This means that Steinbeck presents Crooks to be intelligent of a black man at this time as very few could read and the fact that he owns books is showing his ability to read.

Also because he owns ‘the California civil code’ it is showing that he knows his rights and although he might not be racially the same as everyone else he still has rights and makes sure he knows them, portraying him to be aware and alert. As Crooks has no new clean items as they are all described as ‘tattered’, ‘mauled’ or ‘dirty’ it could show that Steinbeck wants to show Crooks to be a man with little luxury and someone who has no experience or a standard of living as he tends to keep his items even when they are falling apart.

How is Crooks presented in Of Mice and Men? Essay Example

Within this passage Crooks’ room is described as ‘swept and fairly neat’, this is showing that although Crooks lives on his own he still wants to keep his room tidy even though he is living alone and no one ever visits him, so he has no need to keep his room clean. This could mean that Steinbeck wants to portray Crooks to be more than a simple stable hand as he is showing him to have quite a high level of intelligence for someone in his situation and also someone who cares about how his surrounding look as he likes to keep his room clean.

Within the novel and this passage Crooks is portrayed to be in pain and suffering due to his injures, he is ‘bent over to the left by his crooked spine’ and he has ‘pain-tightened lips’, showing the suffering he has to endure due to his back. This could be showing Crooks to be weak as he is in constant discomfort, showing that he would be unable to defend himself if he was put in the situation where he would need to. As Crooks is in constant pain but he still does his job to the best of his ability it could be showing him to be resilient and a willingness to keep on going in order to make money and to be able to sustain himself. He may have acquired these traits as he is a black man living in 1930s America and this means that you would have to been tough and strong willed in order to survive.

Steinbeck introduces Crooks as ‘a lean negro head, lined with pain, the eyes patient’. This is immediately implying the acceptance of racism as the word ‘negro’ is showing him to be of a different colour. This could suggest that he is excluded and isolated from the rest of the characters as he is the only person described like this. The phrase ‘the eyes patient’ confirms that he is used to waiting on orders from other people and this is further showing his loneliness within the novel.

Steinbeck later goes on to show his isolation further, as he explains how he sleeps in ‘a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn’, separated from the rest of the ranch workers. This is implying that Steinbeck might have wanted him to be shown as isolated to portray the racism and segregation at that time. This is a clear way of showing Crooks to be segregated due to his race as he is literally separated from the rest of the ranch workers as he has to live in a different place, with no one to socialize with, portraying the sense of the way black people were treated in society at this time.

A character within the novel that Crooks doesn’t agree with is Curley’s wife as she clearly showing him how she has a higher authoritative class and that she can control him. In chapter four when Crooks starts to open up and social with Lennie and Candy, Curley’s wife then brings Crooks back down to the level she thinks he should be because of his colour.

As on the ranch Curley’s wife has no power over any of the workers as they are considered to have a higher social class, Crooks is then the only person that Curley’s wife feels she can control in this way as he is black. When Curley’s wife tells Crooks that she could get him ‘strung up on a tree’ Crooks immediately turns introverted and scared to defend himself again in case of her following up her threat, showing that he has no power over anything and that she has a higher social ranking than him.

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