What does the description of Crooks's room reveal about its inhabitant in Of Mice and Men?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The description of the room that Crooks inhabits in Of Mice and Men indicates that he is a man of some education and higher level thinking, he is fairly organized, and he has personal pride. His room is both workroom and living quarters, a place where he has lived in isolation for some time.

It is obvious that Crooks, marginalized because he is an African-American, creates his own little world in his quarters. He has several pairs of shoes and rubber boots, books, a dictionary, and a worn copy of the California civil code for 1905, which he has obviously studied. Near the books are a large pair of gold-rimmed glasses. There is also an apple box of wood above his makeshift bed of straw that accommodates his toiletries and medications, which are both for him and the mules and horses, along with saddle soap and a drippy can of tar. Scattered on the floor are a number of other personal possessions, an indication that no one else enters this room because these things have not been disturbed.

This room was swept and fairly neat, for Crooks was a proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that other people keep theirs. His body was bent over to the left by his crooked spine, and his eyes lay deep in his head.

From the objects in his room, it is apparent that Crooks has been on the ranch for years because he possesses many more things than the bindle stiffs do. Crooks is also alone a great deal since the other workers are boarded in the bunkhouse. While he must suffer from his back injury as the liniments attest, he also spends time reading. Further, he tries to improve himself intellectually because he possesses a dictionary. As a segregated man, Crooks studies the California civil code to be sure of his rights. For personal enjoyment, he has some lewd books and magazines above his bed. Yet, for all his possessions, Crooks's room is a lonely place.