How should I compare and contrast Crooks and Curley's wife in Of Mice and Men?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two characters isolated by their singleness, Curley's wife and Crooks are on the fringes of the male society of Of Mice and Men. For them, there is no fraternity, no sharing of work or enjoyments or dreams. While Curley's wife seeks attention by flashing her red fingernails and arching and twisting her body before the men, Crooks retreats into his books from the attention he knows he will never receive, for his barrier of race is greater than any barrier that keeps Candy's wife from socialization. The depth of this barrier is exemplfied in the scene in which he tries to prohibit Curley's wife from entering his room.  For, she turns to him scornfully,

"You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?"

and Crooks retreats upon his bunk "and drew into himself." After Curley's wife leaves, Crooks tells the men that perhaps the should leave as he does not want them in his room any more.  He tells Candy to "forget his idea of working there":

..."Well, jus' forget it.   I didn't mean it. Jus' foolin'. I wouldn'want to go on placec like it.

Forlornly Crooks sits on his bench and looks at the door for a moment.  Then, he defeatedly reaches for the liniment bottle with the knowledge that he will always be part of a race that is apart from the others.