Of Mice and Men – Crooks and Curley’s Wife

1 January 2017

Crooks and Curley’s wife suffer from discrimination around the ranch. Steinbeck expresses discrimination, or prejudice, very simply by refusing to give Curley’s wife a name. She is displayed as only a mere item of Curley’s. Curley’s wife is disliked by ranch hands as they only see and think “she’s a rat trap if I ever seen one” and refuse to talk to her. In a similar fashion to Curley’s wife, Crooks is discriminated and treated unfairly in comparison to the other ranch hands. It is simply evident as they refer to Crooks as a “nigger”. This is offensive but he is at the bottom of the hierarchy so evidently “he don’t give a damn about that”.

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His room is situated away from the others as they “don’t want nothing to do with him. ” Crooks is alike Curley’s wife as they are both discriminated and excluded from society. Prejudice towards Crooks and Curley’s wife causes them to be very lonely. Due to the fact that the ranch hands find Curley’s wife troublesome, it means that “she can’t talk to nobody” and this causes her to be lonesome. Steinbeck illustrates Curley’s wife in a way that makes her seem flirtatious and “purty” and this is all the men see in her, though she is simply just trying to make conversation.

Loneliness is also seen in Curley’s wife as she “don’t even like Curley who ain’t a nice fella” and therefore has nobody to communicate with, “even [her] own husband”. Crooks, alike Curley’s wife, is also lonely as he is the only coloured man in the ranch. Due to this, he is isolated from the other men and therefore has nobody to talk to. Crooks’ loneliness can be identified by the scene in the novella when Lennie enters Crooks room. At this moment, Crooks seizes the opportunity to speak with someone at tells Lennie “you might as well set down” and later realises that it’s just the fact that “they’re talking” and “being with another guy”.

This shows that Crooks admires Lennie’s company because he is so lonely every other time. Crooks and Curley’s wife’s discrimination causes them to be lonely. Crooks and Curley’s wife have dreams of their own which have been shattered but they are constantly trying to put them back together. When Curley’s wife was fifteen, she “coulda been in the movies… an’ had pitchers took of me”. However, her “ol’ lady wouldn’t let [her]. At that moment, Curley’s wife’s dream had been shattered by her mother.

Throughout the novel, she dresses seductively in attempt to rebuild her dream of being a movie star and “had nice clothes like they wear. ” In a related manner, Crooks also had the dream of having the feeling of living on his father’s ranch again. When in conversation with Lennie, Crooks reminisces about his past and how his “old man owned a chicken ranch”. In the past, “white kids come to play at [Crooks’] place, an’ sometimes [he] went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice”. He was on the verge of fulfilling his dream, when it was ruined by his father “who didn’t like that”.

Crooks joins George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own land, in effort to restore his dream of living and playing on his father’s ranch with white people. By joining George and Lennie’s dream, Crooks would be living with white people as well as working on a farm, parallel to his father’s. The dreams of Curley’s wife and Crooks which somehow or another have been ruined and are attempting to piece it back together. Crooks and Curley’s wife, though they are physically opposite, have parallel characteristics which can be identified from causes like prejudice, loneliness, and dreams that have been destroyed.

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