In Of Mice and Men, why is the stable Buck set apart from the other men?
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Crooks is physically set apart from the others because of his race; as an African-American, he is segregated from the white ranch hands, living in the harness room. He does not join the others in the bunkhouse, although George learns from the old man who shows him around that one exception to that rule was made the previous Christmas. Because it was Christmas, Crooks was allowed to "come in that night." Of Mice and Men was written during a time in the United States, long before the civil rights movement, when this kind of racial discrimination was the social norm.
Crooks is also stigmatised because of his crippled hand. He had caught it in some farm machinery a few years earlier and has since been delegated kitchen work, which is another source of humiliation for him since it is associated with a woman's work and domestic chores. Besides that, he has a bad back and is all bent over, from whence comes his nickname.
Crooks gives the other workers the "sour grapes" treatment, distaining them by being stand-offish and moody, but underneath (as he confides to Lenny) he is a very isolated and lonely man.
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