In Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, how did the character Crooks get his name?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Crooks is the lonely stable buck on the ranch who by virtue of the fact he is a negro is forced to live separately from the bunk house. We first hear of him (and the origin of his name) when Candy mentions to George upon his arrival that the stable buck is a nigger,

...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Crooks is the lonely stable buck on the ranch who by virtue of the fact he is a negro is forced to live separately from the bunk house. We first hear of him (and the origin of his name) when Candy mentions to George upon his arrival that the stable buck is a nigger,

"Yeah, Nice fella, too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him." (p.22)

Whilst the use of the derogatory label 'nigger' is an example of authentic language from that time, it still gives us an idea of the low esteem in which Crooks is held. This is reinforced by Candy mentioning that Crooks bears the worst of the boss's temper, and his fond recount of the last Christmas party where one of the workers "took after the nigger" (p.22) and a fight ensued.

Lennie's meeting with Crooks is preceded by a long description of Crooks's living quarters, and highlights the lonely existence of this social outcast. Yet importantly Crooks is characterized as someone of spirit, living separately but proudly,

...for Crooks was a proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that other people kept theirs. His body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine, and his eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity. (p.62)    

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team