How does Candy describe the stable buck's disability in Chapter 2?

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Candy is the old swamper character in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. He sweeps out the bunkhouse and does general maintenance on the ranch where George and Lennie come to work. He lost one of his hands in a ranch accident. He is the first character the two meet when they arrive. In chapter two, Candy introduces the other characters on the ranch, including the Boss, Slim, Curley, Curley's wife and the black stable buck Crooks.

Using indirect characterization Steinbeck, through Candy, describes Crooks physically and tells us he is the victim of racism and segregation. He describes Crooks as being disabled because of an injury, but we also know that Crooks is symbolically crippled because of his race. Candy says,

"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.”

Candy also tells George and Lennie about the time Crooks was able to come into the bunkhouse during a holiday and had to fight, presumably because a white man took a disliking to him. Blacks were still very much second class citizens when Steinbeck wrote the book and the N word figures prominently when Crooks is spoken about. Candy describes the fight in the bunkhouse at Christmas:

They let the nigger come in that night. Little skinner name of Smitty took after the nigger. Done pretty good, too. The guys wouldn’t let him use his feet, so the nigger got him. If he coulda used his feet, Smitty says he woulda killed the nigger. The guys said on account of the nigger’s got a crooked back, Smitty can’t use his feet.” 

The reader, however, is never led to believe that Candy has anything against Crooks. In fact, Candy and Crooks are very similar characters. They have both been crippled and suffer from a disability. They are together in chapter four of the book along with Lennie, another character suffering from a disability (Lennie is mentally challenged). At one point Candy and Crooks become part of George's and Lennie's dream to own land. 

 

 

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