From the extract beginning, "His voice grew soft and persuasive" and ending with "he grumbled" in Chapter 4, what does it reveal to the reader about the relationship of Lennie and Crooks?John...

From the extract beginning, "His voice grew soft and persuasive" and ending with "he grumbled" in Chapter 4, what does it reveal to the reader about the relationship of Lennie and Crooks?

John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this passage extracted from Chapter 4 of Of Mice and Men, Crooks, "the negro stable buck" who is a pariah on the ranch, senses his intellectual advantage over Lennie. For, after having ascertained that Lennie does not always know what George says, Crook perceives the child-like nature of the big man.  Retaliating for the cruelty dealt to him, Crooks taunts Lennie,

"S'pose he took a powder and just ain't coming back.  What'll you do then?"

Crooks presses "forward some kind of victory" as he taunts Lennie with images of George's being hurt; further, he tells Lennie that if George is hurt, Lennie will go to "the booby hatch,"

"They'll take ya to the booby hatch.  They'll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog."

However, when Lennie becomes enraged, Crooks desists.  "Crooks removed his glasses and wiped his eyes with his fingers." Worried that Lennie may harm him, he tells Lennie no one will hurt George.  In truth, Crooks probably means no harm to Lennie; he merely taunts him because he can, and because he has been so lonely that he has become "mean" as George notes of such men to Slim in Chapter 3:

"I ain't got no people, " George said.  I seen the guys that go around on the ranches alone.  That ain't no good. They  don't have no fun.  After a long time they get mean.  They get wantin' to fight all the time."

Clearly, in the passage of Chapter 4 the dialogue of Crooks and Lennie points to the recurring themes of the alienation of the men and the brotherhood of men that helps to alleviate the men's desperation.

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