What is Crooks's  "dignity" and "pride" ?

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Crooks’s dignity and pride is centered on his room, his private space. This is the only part of his world that he controls, and he does not appreciate it when Lennie enters uninvited, followed by Candy. This is the only place where he is able to be free of a white man’s contempt. His handicap and his race have delegated him to a space separate from the rest of the ranch hands. Therefore, he guards it with a certain amount of force. He reluctantly allows Lennie to remain, once he sees that Lennie does not see him as just a “black man.” Candy too, as another marginalized person, also gains admittance to Crooks’s sanctuary.

When Curley’s wife enters, however, his dignity is struck down, which is doubly humiliating since it occurs on his own ground. He thus has no place to retreat where he can be merely himself. He orders Curley’s wife out, as well as Lennie and Candy. The chance for a relationship based on equality has been ruined.