The black stable mate, who is isolated from the other laborers who live in the bunkhouse, has a room in the harness room of the barn where the mules are kept. Having lived and worked on the ranch for years, unlike the "bindle stiffs" Crooks has accumulated some personal property:
...several pairs of shoes, a pair of rubber boots, a big alarm clock and a single-barreled shotgun. And he had books, too...and a mauled cop of the California civil code for 1905...battered magazines and a few dirty books....A pair of large gold-rimmed spectacles.....
Unlike most of the itinerant workers of the time, Crooks can read, and he owns some worthwhile literature. On another shelf, he has "dirty books," which probably satisfy private urges because he cannot join the other men when they go to town for "a good time." For, Crooks is marginalized because of his race, and for this reason, he also has a copy of the California civil code, although it is an outdated one. Understandably, Crooks wants to know the law and be aware of which rights he does have in case of any conflict.
Crooks is also a neat man because things are arranged on shelves in an order; he keeps liniment to rub on his back that has been injured years before. And, because he is not allowed to play cards with the men when they sit in the barn, Crooks forbids anyone to enter his room as a defense against the men's thinking they can treat him as they want.