Why is Crooks' room significant in terms of his characterization?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Crooks' room reveals what it means to be alone.  It is significant because it is a physical representation of loneliness and the alienation that Crooks himself experiences.  The clean and meticulous nature of his room reflects a world where only he lives.  The living outside of manure is also reflective of this isolated nature of being.  The lack of social contact in the room is also evident with the books that Crooks reads as well as the fact that when others see his room, they remark as to how clean it is.  This isolating nature as well as the lack of people in the room helps to bring out the idea that Crooks is alone, a part of his characterization that is revealed in the room with Lennie.  Crooks' room reveals that he has found a certain level of companionship with things and not people.  Crooks' room also brings out the idea that there is a sense of alienation and loneliness within the physical space, mirrored in his own personal understanding of self.  Steinbeck's design of an interior setting that is perfectly designed and neatly arranged brings out a domain where there is no presence of human emotions and interactions, something that is a part of Crooks' being.  In the description of his space, physical externality and emotional sensibility mirror one another, helping Steinbeck able to connect both in order to amplify the effectiveness of both.