I need help with writing a letter from Crooks to George about going in with him to get the little piece of land he and Lennie dream of owning.Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Whenever a student has an assignment such as this in which he is required to extend the narrative in some manner, the most important consideration must be to maintain verisimilitude.  That is, in composing a letter from Crooks, the student will want to stay within the perimeters of the author's characterization. So, an examination of the attributes and foibles of the character are first necessary. (A reread of Chapter Four will be helpful)

Here are some points to consider:

  1. The reader has been made aware of the social position of Crooks as the lowest of all; he is isolated from the other men because of his race and must reside in the barn with the mules.  However, he is not a backward or ignorant man; his quarters is neat and contains books, a dictionary, and a copy of the California Civil Code.  
  2. When he learns of Lennie's and George's plans, Crooks is tantalized by the idea of having something to own as well as the idea that he could live openly with others as he did when he was a child. 
  3. His terrible loneliness, his inability to have someone "to measure" himself by, is what Crooks wishes desperately to escape.

In composing the letter, therefore, the student as Crooks can write that he has talked with Lennie, who has extended friendship to him.  And, because of this extension of friendship and sharing Lennie and George's plan of owning a farm, Crooks would like very much to contribute to their efforts. Since he has some money saved, he could buy a share in the place; his knowledge of the law (remember his Civil Code book) will be useful to them as will his skill with raising animals (remember he has mentioned his childhood in the country with chickens, etc.).  Crooks may also volunteer to handle the financial aspects of the farm, explaining that he has read books on how to manage places and one's money.  Remember, too, that Crooks even offers to work for free if he is only allowed to participate in the "dream." 

Without making a direct mention of his being lonely, the student writing Crooks's letter will wish to indirectly communicate to George the terrible loneliness and isolation from which he suffers.  Perhaps, Crooks might write that he would so like to be able to eat with others and laugh with others because then he can know what he really is.  Then, Crooks can end with a positive note, suggesting that his partnership with Lennie and George will help ease some of their burdens so that they can relax more.


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