What is Crooks' moral philosophy in Of Mice and Men? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Crooks' would define moral philosophy in a modern manner.  I think that he would see the constructs of right and wrong as purely that, social construction.  Crooks does not hold the point of view that there is a type of transcendent force that restores justice and righteousness in the world.  It is for this reason that he is segregated off from others.  I think that the Modernism in Crooks' philosophy is that he does yearn for a type of inclusion, a form of transcendence even though he knows in his heart it is impossible for him.  It is this yearning, this craving for symmetry and knowing its infeasible nature, that makes him so Modernist in his moral philosophy.  I don't see him as a Postmodernist because I don't see him struggling to find narrative in others.  Crooks is not concerned with how Lennie constructs reality or how symbols are used to define it.  Rather, he sees the results of right and wrong as exercises in power that help to obscure the fact that for someone like Crooks, justice and righteousness will not prevail.  What ends up determining "right" for Crooks is the fact that what he feels should happen doesn't, and that his particular actions will not amount to much in way of changing it.  Crooks feels that "the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity," to quote Yeats.  He sits alone, rubbing the ointment on his body to alleviate the pain that is also internal.  He stays on his own, trying his best to repel the outside world.  But for a weak moment, his conception of right and wrong is challenged when he wishes to be included in the plan of getting out by George, Lennie, and Candy. Yet, he understands that power controls what is right and wrong.  When Candy's wife says that she can lie to determine his future and have him lynched, Crooks embraces the Modernist position of moral philosophy in articulating that she is right because she has the power.  He understands that "all relations have shifted," to quote Woolf.  This shift places him on the bottom, relegated to the periphery.  He does not support this, but knows that this is the reality of moral philosophy in which he lives.  In this, he would represent the Modernist point of view.

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