Problems In Of Mice And Men

Throughout John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men, many characters unveil issues of that time era. Perhaps one amongst the most distinguished characters to provide insight into the culture of the 30s is Crooks the ‘negro stable buck.’ Crooks is an African American male, who works on a ranch that’s predominantly run by those who don’t believe in the impartiality of all races. He’s treated as less than because of his ethnicity. Steinbeck illustrates that Crooks embodies intelligence, hopelessness and racial injustice throughout the novel Of Mice and Men.

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Steinbeck chooses to permit Crooks to show a large sense of intelligence throughout the novel. One time in particular, in Crooks’ bunk Crooks was educating Lennie on what he had seen throughout the bond between the two men. He is choosing to show his knowledge and wisdom to make a point to Lennie. “…I seen it over and over- a guy talkin’ to another guy and it don’t make no difference if he don’t hear or understand…” (Steinbeck 71) Crooks was speaking about how Lennie continues to remain friends with George, disregarding his lack of understanding. Crooks is using his intelligence to try and elude to the fact that he needs someone loyal in his life. Somebody who can offer him friendship and affiliaton that he’s never truly experienced.

Another motif that Steinbeck portrays throughout Crooks’ character is racial injustice. Evidence of this is found when Crooks was talking to Lennie about why he didn’t visit the rest of the guys in the bunkhouse. “‘Cause I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black.” (Steinbeck 68) This shows racial injustice because they segregate Crooks and eliminate his rights to play cards with everyone simply because of his race. Crooks is aware that Lennie is unintelligible when it comes to racism, and he is making an attempt to explain to him why he isn’t treated equally. Crooks embodies racial injustice because besides being the sole person of color on the ranch, he is threatened constantly by things because of his race. One of these examples is playing cards, and how he’s not able to do so.

The final motif I believe Steinbeck was trying to convey within Crooks is hopelessness. This is a very extensive throughout Crooks’ dialogue, particularly within the section where Crooks is talking to Candy and Lennie and educating them on why he doesn’t believe in the ‘American Dream.; “I seen it happen too many times. I seen too many guys with land in their head. They never get none under their hand.” This shows that Crooks is hopeless, he’s seen the failure of many so he’s never willing to make a stride toward his own goals. He feels even additional setback because of his skin color. His hopelessness is present when he is talking to Candy & Lennie because he doesn’t believe that potential is obtainable to pursue goals.

Steinbeck illustrates several problems that were eminent in the past, Crooks is how he decided to show them. From Crooks we learn that you can turn your vulnerabilities into an influence. From racial injustice to hopelessness & intelligence. Crooks uses his quick witted abilities to be an extremely powerful character.   

29 April 2022

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