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Crooks And Lennie Essay

"Of Mice And Men" John Steinbeck Crooks, Lennie, Candy, And Curley's Wife...Outcasts Who Although Are Lonely And Seek Each Others Companionship, Ostracize Each Other Nevertheless

In Chapter 4 of "Of Mice and Men," John Steinbeck portrays Crooks, Lennie, Candy, and Curley's wife as outcasts who although are lonely and seek each others companionship, ostracize each other nevertheless. Each of said characters seek companionship, are outcasts, and as a result abase one another.

Crooks, Candy, Curley's wife, and Lennie are lonely and therefore seek companionship. Crooks is a very lonely character, and may in fact be the most diverse due to both his handicap and race. When he gets company, he tries to conceal his pleasure with anger; he does not welcome others into his abode because they discriminate against him (his impediment is therefore seen as a spiteful retaliation), but at the same time he is delighted to have company. When Crooks sees Lennie standing at the doorway smiling at him, Crooks gives in and allows him to stay, telling him "you can come if ya want." Lennie is also lonely, for he is drawn to Crooks' stable when he sees the light on; when he approached Crooks, he "smiled helplessly in an attempt to make friends." Candy later comes in to the stable, as Crooks allows him to come in; he is modest about Crooks's welcome, saying "of course if you want me to." Candy is a passive man virtually unable to take any independent action and his one major act in the book, offering Lennie and George money in order to go in on a piece of land together, is a means by which he can become dependent on them; this is a result of his impeding loneliness. Lastly, Curley's wife enters the stable. Her presence is almost nomadic; she wonders around the whole ranch, seeking company and then parting. Generally considered to be a tramp by the men at the ranch, Curley's Wife is the only major character in Of Mice and Men whom Steinbeck does not give a name. She dislikes her husband and feels desperately lonely at the ranch, for she is the only woman and feels isolated from the other men, who openly scorn her. She...

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Crooks

Character Analysis

Crooks (named for his crooked back) is the stable hand who works with the ranch horses. He lives by himself because he is the only black man on the ranch. Crooks is bookish and likes to keep his room neat, but he has been so beaten down by loneliness and prejudicial treatment of that he is now suspicious of any kindness he receives.

Lennie's brief interaction with Crooks reveals the complexity of racial prejudice in the northern California ranch life. Though Crooks was born in California (not like many Southern blacks who had migrated, he implies), he is still always made to feel like an outsider, even in his home state. Crooks is painfully aware that his skin color is all that keeps him separate in this culture. This outsider status causes him to lament his loneliness, but he also delights in seeing the loneliness of others, perhaps because misery loves company. When Crooks begins to pick on Lennie, suggesting George won't come home, we discover the slight mean streak that undoubtedly develops after being alone for so long. Lennie unwittingly soothes Crooks into feeling at ease, and Candy even gets the man excited about the dream farm, to the point where Crooks could fancy himself worthy and equal enough to be in on the plan with the guys.

Crooks's little dream of the farm is shattered by Curley's wife's nasty comments, slotting the black man right back into his "place" as inferior to a white woman. Jolted into that era's reality by Curley's wife harsh treatment, Crooks refuses to say the woman is wrong. Instead, he accepts the fact that he lives with ever-present racial discrimination. He dismisses the other men, saying he had "forgotten himself" because they'd treated him so well. It seems Crooks defines his own notion of himself not based on what he believes he's worth, but on knowing that no matter how he feels, others around him will always value him as less. As quickly as he got excited about the dream, he abandons it, telling Candy he was "Jus foolin" about being interested in his own freedom and happiness.

Crooks' Timeline