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...
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