What quotes show that Crooks is lonely in Of Mice and Men?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Crooks is the African American stable hand with a crooked back throughout the novella. Unlike the other workers on the ranch, Crooks is prohibited from sleeping and staying in the bunkhouse with the other men because of his race. Instead, Crooks has his own small room attached to the barn, where he lives alone and isolated from the other workers. Crooks is a relatively cantankerous man because of his marginalized status, and he initially treats Lennie with scorn when Lennie first enters his room. However, the reader discovers that Crooks's pessimistic personality is a result of his loneliness and grief. After upsetting Lennie, Crooks reveals his loneliness by telling him, 

S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunkhouse and play rummy 'cause you was black. How'd you like that? S'pose you had to sit out here an' read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody to be near him (Steinbeck, 36).

Crook's statement not only reveals his loneliness and isolation, it also illustrates the theme of friendship and camaraderie. Crooks believes that in order to thrive one must have opportunities to interact with other people and form valuable relationships. Crooks continues to lament his loneliness by saying,

A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya. . . I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick (Steinbeck, 36). 

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men

Crooks is undoubtedly lonely. But let me sketch the context to make this point. 

One of the most notable points in the whole book is that everyone is alone. This is what separates Lennie and George from others. Right from the beginning of the book, Slim makes this point. 

Slim looked through George and beyond him. “Ain’t many guys travel around together,” he mused. “I don’t know why. Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

Within the ranch, this sense of alienation is pervasive. The one who is most alienated is Crooks. This is because he is a black man in a white world.

Crooks has been on the ranch for a long time, but he does not have a relationship at all with anyone. For example, no one visits him. When Lennie comes to visit him, he make this point. 

Crooks said darkly, “Guys don’t come into a colored man’s room very much. Nobody been here but Slim. Slim an’ the boss.”

As he talks with Lennie, he shares his loneliness with him. He says that he is going crazy, because he has no one to talk to. Here is what Crooks confesses:

A guy needs somebody—to be near him.” He whined, “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya,” he cried, “I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”