Crook’s character in Of Mice and Men is used to represent the racial hatred evident for that time period. It can be argued whether Crooks really deserves the reader’s sympathy, or whether he is just another bitter and cruel character.
His loneliness is the true reason behind the locked emotions Crooks feels, and his need for human companionship is great, although he has lost touch with how to interact with people.Crooks is very cynical in the way he talks. Being a black man in a predominantly white ruled world, he is only one more ‘nigger,’ as referred to by the other ranchers, and is crippling society both in the physical and social sense. Crooks is resentful to the place he holds in society, and does not appreciate being pushed to the side.
He tells Lennie “If I say something, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it.” He may be a brusque character, but deep within him lay the insecurities he feels, forcing him to look upon himself as a lesser man.When Lennie approaches Crooks’ room, Crook tries to warn him off by shouting at him. “You got no right to come in my room…You go on get outa my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse and you ain’t wanted in my room.
” He explains to Lennie the reason behind the whites not allowing him into the bunkhouse, their claims that Crooks stinks. By stink they are most likely referring to the fact they could not bare to breathe in the same room as someone of another race, as this may in some way pollute their air. Crooks goes on to say to Lennie, “S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy ’cause you was black..
.Sure, you could play horseshoes ’til dark, but then you have to read books.” This line shows that although Crooks pretends he is fine, and hides behind his bitterness, he really does long to be accepted by the others.
He is in fact vulnerable; his circumstances have made him so.Crooks is too cynical of Lennie’s bid to follow the American Dream. He is scornful and dismissive of the idea of independence and land to call their own.
“I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches with their bindles on their backs an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hundreds of them. They come, an’ they quit an’ go on…An’ never a god-damn one of ’em gets it.
“These few lines are important to show what seems to be missing from Crooks’ life, perhaps the root cause of his personality, and that is hope. Crooks no longer appears to have the will to believe in a better life and in taking opportunities. It seems he has become accustomed to his way of life, and although is not content with it, has learnt to accept it. Steinbeck does however manage to show us that everyone dreams at least once in their life, as is shown when Crooks reminisces about his childhood. “I remember when I was a little kid….
had a strawberry patch. Had an alfalfa patch…. Used to turn the chickens out on the alfalfa on a sunny morning”The way in which we seem to be able to pick up on Crooks’ personality is in the way he talks to Lennie.
There is a point where he is feeding upon the misery of Lennie, and is trying to force him to meet him at the point where he is, the harsh world of loneliness. “S’pose George don’t come back no more.” Crooks manages to turn from being the prey to the predator. He sees someone who is weaker then him mentally, and takes the chance to boost his self-esteem. This is typical of what most humans do, whether it is through consciousness or not.
By inflicting misery on someone else, Crooks feels as if he can fill the empty void in his life.However, whilst talking to Lennie, he softens his approach a little “his tone was a little more friendly.” Later on in the chapter, Crooks goes on to say, “I didn’t mean to scare you.” This subtle but evident proposal of amity shows Crook’s heart is still in the right place, and he can be nice when speaking to other people. When Candy steps into Crooks’ bunkhouse, he finds it hard to turn him away. “Come on in.
If ever’body’s comin’ in, you might just as well. It was difficult for Crooks to conceal his pleasure with anger.” The need to be accepted is greater in Crooks then the need to hold a grudge, and to cut his nose to spite his face.Crooks can be seen as contemptuous, evil, and a pessimistic soul.
This can be blamed upon his own actions, but on the other hand it is easy to feel sorry for Crooks and his situation. As hard as he may try to hide it, the qualities of humanity are present under the shield he uses to protect himself from the constant exclusion he feels. He is one of the many character’s who have been through injustice and fear, but still have hope, no matter how diminutive or how concealed it may be.