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How do Crooks's thoughts reflect the thoughts of the novel's other characters, and how...

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les1234 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2009 at 7:27 AM via web

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How do Crooks's thoughts reflect the thoughts of the novel's other characters, and how does his race contribute to his outcast nature?

"Crooks laughed again. 'A guy can talk to you and be sure you won't go blabbin'. Couple of weeks and them pups'll be all right. George knows what he's about. Jus' talks, an you don't understand nothing.' He leaned forward excitedly. 'This is just a nigger talkin', an' a busted-back nigger. So it don't mean nothing, see. You couldn't remember it anyways. I seen it over an' over an' over a guy talkin' to another guy and it don't make no difference if he don't hear or understand. The thing is, they're talkin', or they're settin' still not talkin'. It don't make no difference, no difference.' His excitement had increased until he pounded his knee with his hand.

'George can tell you screwy things, and it don't matter. It's just the talking. It's just bein' with another guy.'

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 29, 2009 at 11:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Crooks's thoughts in the passage above from Of Mice and Menreflect the ideas of all the novelette's outcasts. Just like George, Candy, and Curley's Wife, Crooks longs for human companionship; he simply wants another person to acknowledge his existence.  Likewise, George thinks that he and Lennie are different from all the other lonely migrant workers because they have each other.  George's actions mirror Crooks's words--George knows that Lennie isn't listening to him most of the time, but he (like Crooks) simply wants someone to hear him. Similarly, Candy is willing to invest his life's savings in strangers' dreams so that he can spend the last years of his life with others.  His one companion, his dog, is now gone. Finally, Curley's wife is willing to risk the fury of her abusive husband just for human conversation.  Her behavior with Lennie is exactly like Crook's conversation with Lennie; she does not care that Lennie doesn't understand her.

Crooks's race is the reason for his isolation, just as Candy's age and handicap isolate him, and Curley's wife's gender forces her into a solitary life. Because of his race, he must live outside of human contact.  Because of his race, he no longer trusts that dreams can come true.  Steinbeck devotes all of Chapter 4 to Crooks to illustrate how completely isolated the stable hand truly is because of his race.

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