Why are Candy, Lennie, and Crooks considered outcasts in Of Mice and Men?

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Crooks, Lennie, and Candy each suffer from situations that still cause discrimination today: race, mental disability, and age. In addition, Crooks and Candy both have physical handicaps.

Crooks is black and so is shunned by the other ranch hands, who won't share the bunk house with him. They tell...

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Crooks, Lennie, and Candy each suffer from situations that still cause discrimination today: race, mental disability, and age. In addition, Crooks and Candy both have physical handicaps.

Crooks is black and so is shunned by the other ranch hands, who won't share the bunk house with him. They tell him he "stinks," and he is forced to sleep in trough of straw off the harness room of the barn. (He has made the room his own, showing his intelligence with his books.) He spends a good deal of time alone because the other men don't much want to be associated him, and he has learned to accept being lonely. Curley's wife intimidates and humiliates him with the threat of a lynching. Crooks also has a bad back (the source of his nickname) from an injury, which doesn't help him to be accepted.

Lennie is mentally disabled. Since he often doesn't understand what is going on, it is difficult for him to be included in the other men's activities. In addition, George shelters him and tries to keep him apart from the others so that no trouble starts. His being alone is a danger too, as the story shows.

Candy is aging and missing a hand. His chief companion is his old dog, but Carlson shoots the dog because it is blind, smells bad, and is a nuisance in the bunk house. Candy fears he will be fired and left alone to die when he gets too old to work.

Today we have more understanding and compassion for people in the situation of these three men, and legal protections are in place that at least attempt to safeguard people from discrimination.

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Candy is considered an outcast on the ranch due to his age and handicap. Unlike the other workers on the farm, Candy is much older and past his prime. He also lost his hand in a farming accident, which has affected his ability to be productive. Similar to his old dog, Candy is becoming less and less useful. He fears that he will eventually be fired and forgotten.

Lennie is considered an outcast because of his low intelligence and dependence on George. Unlike the other men on the farm, Lennie is mentally handicapped, which affects his relationship with the other workers on the ranch. He struggles during conversations because of his lack of social skills and understanding, which further alienates him from the other workers. Lennie's dependence on George also affects his status as an outcast. He is not independent enough to take care of himself and relies on George's intellect and compassion. There are times throughout the novel where Lennie is excluded from the group and left on the ranch while the workers go into town.

Crooks is considered an outcast because he suffers from racial discrimination. Crooks is the only African American worker on the ranch and is forced to live by himself. He is excluded from the bunkhouse, which makes him a lonely, angry man. In a conversation with Lennie, Crooks resents the fact that he is a victim of racial prejudice. He wishes to be included and treated equally but is forced to live an isolated life because of the color of his skin.

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The characters of Candy, Lennie, and Crooks are all considered outcasts, in one way or another, in Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men.

First, Candy is considered an outcast given that he has simply outworn his ability to function as a worker on the farm. This is mirrored by the fact that his dog is put down for being too old. Candy can be seen in the same way which the dog is: useless and beyond help. The other ranchers' insistence that the dog needs to be put down, based upon his uselessness. Candy recognizes the fact that, one day, he will be seen as useless and discarded as well. Therefore, he is considered an outcast given his uselessness (though the men do not admit it yet--it is coming).

Lennie is an outcast given his diminished mental capacity. His presence on the ranch would not be allowed if George was not there to look out for him and insure that he did what was expected. The fact that he is an outcast is also seen when the men go after him (after he murders Curley's wife) instead of protecting him (as they would if he were a true member of the ranchers' family).

Lastly, Crooks is seen as an outcast for two reasons. First, Crooks is black. Therefore, he is not regarded as having the same worth as a white worker. Second, Crooks has been injured. His ability to perform the duties expected of him have been reduced. Given that he had dedicated his life to the ranch is the only reason he has been allowed to stay.

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