In Of Mice and Men, why is Crooks so lonely?

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Loneliness is an important theme in Of Mice and Men. However, Crooks is more severely affected than most of the characters. Cut off by color segregation from the gregarious atmosphere of the ranch house, he lives alone in the harness room. He is "more permanent than the other men," and his loneliness is exacerbated by constantly seeing ranch hands come and go. This is one reason why he is so cynical about George and Lennie's dream of buying their own land, as he has seen many former hands fail to accomplish this. Nonetheless, his loneliness is such that, even though he does not believe they will achieve their dream, he offers to come and work for them free of charge if they ever do.

Crooks hesitates to make this suggestion, and it is clearly difficult for him to unbend in this way. It is clear from Steinbeck's description of Crooks that his loneliness is perpetuated by a vicious circle. He is described as "a proud, aloof man" who "kept his distance and demanded that other people keep theirs." When he discovers George and Lennie in his room, he peremptorily orders them to get out, saying:

"I ain't wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain't wanted in my room."

"Why ain't you wanted?" Lennie asked.

"'Cause I'm black. They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me."

Years of segregation and harsh treatment have exacerbated Crooks's bitterness and, consequently, his loneliness. He is now hostile to the men who sleep in the bunkhouse, even on the rare occasions when they want to be friends with him. He is envious of George and Lennie's friendship, as well as the camaraderie of the bunkhouse, complaining to Lennie:

You got George. You know he's goin' to come back. S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunkhouse and play rummy 'cause you was black. How'd you like that?...A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.

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Crooks is lonely because he is a black man on a ranch that is otherwise white. The 1930s was a highly racist period in American history, and the other ranch hands shun him because he is black. We learn that they refuse to let him sleep with them in the bunkhouse. Therefore, he has a room by himself off the barn, where he sleeps in a trough. He has made it a civilized place with books and his repair equipment.

Crooks notes that the other men say he stinks and won't let him join them in playing cards. He also states that he is lonely and that the solitude is corrosive to him: he can only spend so much time reading or working alone.

As the story shows, Crooks is lonely too because his experience is inherently more fraught with danger than that of the other hands. When he tries, for example, to order Curley's wife from his room, she threatens to have him lynched if he is uppity. Her humiliating threat carries weight, and Crooks withdraws into himself.

Crooks would love to be part of the George and Lennie's dream of the farm but quickly realizes that he wouldn't be accepted there. Racism sets him apart and diminishes his life.

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Crooks is the lively black stable-hand on the ranch with a crooked back, who is extremely lonely because he suffers from racial discrimination and is segregated from the other white workers on the farm. Since Crooks is the only black worker on the ranch, he is not allowed to live in the bunkhouse and is forced to reside in a small room attached to the barn, where he spends the majority of his time alone. In chapter 4, Crooks laments about his loneliness by telling Lennie,

"S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy ‘cause you was black. How’d you like that? S’pose you had to sit out here an’ read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody—to be near him...A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya...I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick" (Steinbeck, 36).

Crooks suffers because he is treated as an outcast and forced to play card games and read books by himself instead of socializing with the other workers. Crooks is the unfortunate victim of racial discrimination and is forced to live separately from the other workers, which is the main reason he is lonely.

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Crooks is an older man whose body is literally bent to the left; he is a "cripple," in Steinbeck's words. He lives by himself in his own bunk in the harness room with a few spartan possessions, and his attitude is aloof and distant from the other men on the ranch. He takes care of the horses on the ranch. 

Crooks is lonely because he is the only African-American man for miles around. While he was born in California, where his father owned a chicken ranch, he has always felt different and unaccepted because of his race. He has become used to being alone and lonely, but he also has an element of bitterness. He relates well to Lennie, though Crooks is initially hostile to Lennie and taunts Lennie by telling him George will never come home. Crooks begins to become excited about living with Lennie and George on the ranch they plan to start, but this excitement is only a temporary break in his loneliness. 

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