Crooks’ importance in “Of Mice and Men” In “Of Mice and Men” Crooks is a black stable back segregated from the rest of the men on the ranch because of the fact that he is black. Crooks’ name suggests that there is something physically wrong with him. His physical disability is one of the many ways that he suffers on the ranch. We see Crooks mostly in chapter four. He is not shown much in the first three paragraphs and this indicates his position in society as very low because he is not noticed, and therefore is not important.
At the begin of chapter four we see Crooks in a room of his own from this we see he is separated from all the other men. His room is simple and small to suit his needs “Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with hay. ” The fact that his room is so basic shows that he is lower than rest of the men on the ranch. Although that he is seen as less of a person, he looks after his room which shows he is “a proud, aloof man. ” Although he is separated from the other men, he still has many personal possessions. Like the other men on the ranch his possessions say a lot about him.
In his room he has “rubber boots”, “a big alarm clock”, and “a shot gun” which shows that although he is a cripple he is very active and practical. He also has many tools; here John Steinbeck is trying to show that although he is black he is very skilled and capable with his hands. The medicine is a symbol of his life time worth of work and unlike other men he permanent on the ranch. As he is black he does not have much of a relationship with any of the other characters, because of this he finds it shocking that Lennie enters his room.
He says: “You go on get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room. ” Here we see that Crooks knows about his rights and that he has accepted that he is discriminated against because of his colour and because of this he has learnt to treat white people how they treat him. When Crooks finally lets Lennie into his room , he finds that Lennie is a weak character “S’pose George don’t come” To what extent do you feel sympathy for crooks The first thing Steinbeck does to make the reader feel sympathetic is describing Crooks’s room.
It is a stable in the barn, we feel sympathy for him because he has to share everything with the hoses, ‘and in it the range of medicine bottles, both for himself and the horses’. Even though he was the only human in his room, it isn’t really his own. Steinbeck talks about crook’s medicine bottles and about him rubbing liniment in to his back, now and the he poured a few drops of the liniment into his pink-palmed hand and reached up under his shirt again’. It is a human trait to feel sympathy for things in pain.
The writher knows this so he uses very descriptive language to make the reader sympathetic. When Lennie wonders into his room Crooks snaps at him. This causes us to be sympathetic because it shows us that Crooks is so unused to human contact he doesn’t know how to deal with it. Another reason for his meanness to Lennie might be that he wants to make himself feel big. Crooks is used to being bullied so therefore he might bully who he can so he gains a higher status than them. This makes us sympathetic because he thinks he is so pathetic he’ll do anything to gain some respect.
In 1930s America, when this book was set there was a lot of racism around. Crooks isn’t allowed in the bunk house because he is black also he gets beaten up for fun because he is black. Things like this make us feel sympathy for Crooks. This is very obvious when Crooks is talking about his childhood, ‘there wasn’t another coloured man for miles around and there isn’t another coloured man on this ranch’. it causes us to feel sympathy because he used to have a happy life on his dad’s farm and no one was racist but now everyone just sees him as a ‘nigger’.
Steinbeck uses racism again when Curley’s wife is bullying him, ‘listen nigger’. This has the same effect as before. Curley’s wife uses her position and white skin to beat him. She causes him to shrink down and try to be invisible. This means he gives up on the dream of the ranch. This makes the reader feel sympathetic because it could’ve been so good for him. Steinbeck uses lots of emotive language to get at the reader, ‘shivered’ ‘more softly’ ‘sharply’. This gives us a clearer picture and we can have more feelings because we know more.
You feel sorry for Crooks at the end of the novel because he has had to see another person come to the ranch and lose their dream. This must make him think that life lets everyone down, even the good guys. To conclude Steinbeck uses language and things the reader can relate to, to make us feel sympathetic towards to Crooks, we feel sorry of him in other places in the novel because we remember what he has said and been through and what they must make him think. In ‘Of Mice and Men’ Crooks is a black man and is disfigured because of his crooked back.
Because of these two things, he is treated as a second-class citizen. We can see that he is treated this way by looking at this extract: “Crooks, the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness-room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. On one side of the little room there was a square four paned window, and on the other, a narrow plank door leading into the barn. Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with straw, on which his blankets were flung. ” From this extract, we are told many things about crooks. Firstly, in the opening sentence of the extract, we are told that crooks is a “negro stable buck”.
We know straight away that he is different because of the fact that his colour was mentioned; none of the other characters in the book were described by the colour of their skin, showing that crooks has been separated from them based upon his colour. Crooks has his own bunk in the harness room, where the tacking for the horses is kept. The idea of the harness room is important because Crooks, like the rest of the characters, are literally in harness to the job on the ranch. They work like the animals until they have outlived their time a t the ranch