Does Candy ever call Crook's a 'nigger' in Of Mice and Men?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Yes, Candy does call Crooks The “N” Word, but not in a derogatory way at first.

Candy calls Crooks The “N” word because he is just using it to describe him.  To Candy, that is a descriptive word.  When he first talks about Crooks to George and Lennie, he is using the word just to point out who Crooks is.  He goes on to describe him like this:

"Yeah. Nice fella too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him. The boss gives him hell when he's mad. But the stable buck don't give a damn about that. He reads a lot. Got books in his room." (CH 2, p. 10)

Candy seems to respect Crooks, or at least think pretty highly of him.  However, Curley’s wife uses the same word in a derogatory manner, telling him “I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny” (CH 3, p. 39).  She says this in response to him telling her she has no right to come into his room, when George and Candy are in there too.

So, you see, the word could be used in a mean way or a matter-of-fact way, but it was racist either way.  Candy is not really the racist.  The whole world was racist, and Candy was just following convention and doing what everyone else did.

 

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