Crooks is an interesting character because he offers Steinbeck a way to examine racism in his account of oppressed workers in the 1930s.
Crooks is only known by his nickname, which refers to his crooked back, the result of being kicked by a horse. Through Crooks, we see how racist the other ranch hands are.
Crooks has to sleep by himself in the harness room off the stable. Unlike the other ranch hands, he has only a box of straw, rather than a bunk bed. The other hands don't want him in the bunk house because they think he stinks. He is often left out of their activities, such as playing cards, and has learned to deal with his loneliness through reading.
As we see when Lennie pops into his room, Crooks is intelligent man with a strong sense of dignity. He is embittered by what people have put him through, but he warms up a bit to Lennie. He becomes excited for a moment at the idea of participating in the dream of the farm, but he soon realizes that such a dream is not open to a black man.
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