To What Extent Does Steinbeck Present Crooks In Of Mice And Men

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How is Crooks presented by Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men? The novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck is set in 1930s America, during the Great Depression. Racism was widespread at the time, with the abolition of slavery occurring just 70 years earlier and society was dominated by white people. Steinbeck explores this using the character Crooks, a black negro stable buck who experiences this harsh racial prejudice first hand. Throughout the novel Steinbeck presents Crooks as an outsider in ranch life, who is segregated from the other ranch workers. This is apparent from the first moment Steinbeck introduces us to Crooks, through Candy’s description of him who states that he ‘Got books in his room’. This immediately illustrates the level of …show more content…

One of the first things Steinbeck tells the reader about Crooks is that he ‘Got a crooked back where the horse kicked him.’. This instantly demonstrates Crooks vulnerability in a society where worth is measured upon ones ability to work by showing that Crooks is not physically fit and is consequently less capable of performing hard physical labour. This gives the reader an impression that Crooks is more disposable than some of the other ranch workers as he is less useful due to his disability. Later in the novel Steinbeck recapitulates the idea of Crooks being a vulnerable victim during a face-off between Crooks and Curley’s Wife. Curley’s wife threatens Crooks saying ‘You know what I could do to you?. Throughout the novel Curley’s wife is presented as a character low on the hierarchy so the fact that she is still able to threaten Crooks, shows the extent of his vulnerability. Steinbeck presents the idea that Crooks cannot defend himself because being black no one would ever listen to him, and consequently that he is easily blamed and easily punished, depicting him as a victim of …show more content…

His room is described as ‘swept and fairly neat’ highlighting his intention to remain a civilised human being, even when other people on the ranch place him of similar worth to the animals. During the description of his room the reader also learns that Crooks ‘had books, too’. This implies that Crooks has self worth as he sees himself as worth his time to educate and depicts that he wants to become a knowledgeable and educated man. It also shows that despite other people viewing him as an animal, who are often seen as unintelligent creatures, he sees himself as a human. This sense of self respect is enhance by his dream. During Chapter 4, Steinbeck tells us more about Crooks’ childhood, during which his ‘old man had a chicken ranch’. Crooks viewed his childhood fondly, and it becomes apparent later in the chapter that this is his dream: to own a ranch. Even Crooks who's highly skeptical of Lennie, George and Candy’s dream eventually states that he’d ‘come an’ lend a hand.’ on their ranch. This dream of owning a ranch enhances Crooks self respect to the point that normally cautious character feels worthy enough to speak ‘coldly’ to Curley’s wife, showing how this dream increases his confidence and respect for

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