Curley's wife, who was angry because Crooks told her to leave his room, tells Crooks to shut up because she could have him lynched. "Of Mice and Men" was one of the few books of its time to deal with the plight of African Americans during the depression. Although Crooks is obviously good at his job and an asset to the ranch, he is still forced to live in a separate room and cannot associate with the other ranch hands, who are white. His main entertainment is reading books and so he is lonely. He tells Lennie and Curley's wife to leave him alone, not only because he feels his space has been violated, but because he is also afraid of having a white woman, especially Curley's wife, discovered in his room. Curley's wife sees this is one of the few places on the ranch where she can feel superior and let's Crooks know it.