What is the significance of Crooks' reactions to the idea of sharing in the dream that Lennie, George, and Candy shared?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a certain extent, Crooks' acceptance and rejection of joining Candy and Lennie/ George in their dreams is a statement of how the dynamic of dreams and despair is a fluid dynamic.  Crooks has become accustomed to being on his own, away from others.  This has helped to establish a sort of routine for Crooks.  Yet, when he speaks with Lennie, almost tormenting him about what he would do if he did not have anyone, it becomes evident that Crooks experiences pain as a result of his marginalization.  It is painful for him not to have anyone or to be estranged from others.  His willingness, however small and tepid, of the desire to be with people is a reflection of how no one is really immune from seeking dreams, and from envisioning a life of what can be as opposed to what is.  The significance is evident in that Crooks shows that anyone, no matter how frustrated they are, can find themselves willing and desirous of a dream.  Once Curley's wife enters and with her venom puts him back in his place, he retreats back to his state of loneliness.  It is here where significance is seen in that the pain of dreams denied causes individuals to relinquish them.