Who is Crooks in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men?

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Crooks is the black stable-hand on the ranch who gets his nickname from his crooked back. Unlike the white workers on the ranch, Crooks is forced to live by himself in a small room attached to the barn because he is black and the farm is segregated. Crooks suffers from...

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Crooks is the black stable-hand on the ranch who gets his nickname from his crooked back. Unlike the white workers on the ranch, Crooks is forced to live by himself in a small room attached to the barn because he is black and the farm is segregated. Crooks suffers from racial discrimination and is a sympathetic character who is extremely lonely and ostracized.

In chapter four, Lennie visits his room and Crooks initially displays the corrosive effects of loneliness and discrimination when he purposely upsets Lennie by talking about George leaving him. Crooks also reveals his loneliness by lamenting his difficult situation on the farm and expressing his desire to be treated like he was equal. When Candy and Lennie initially talk about their dream of owning their own homestead, Crooks mentions that it is impossible. Once Candy comments on how close the men are to reaching their dream, Crooks becomes drawn to the dream and offers to help on their homestead for free. Shortly after dreaming about a better future, Curley's wife enters the barn and threatens to have Crooks lynched after he tells her to leave. Overall, Crooks is a sympathetic character who illustrates the difficulties of being a black stable-hand on a segregated farm during the Great Depression.

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Crooks is an African-American stable hand who lives by himself, isolated from the other ranch hands, in the harness room. Crooks was born in California, where his father had a chicken ranch. Though he grew up playing with white children, his father liked to maintain his distance from white families, as he knew that they would treat him in discriminatory ways. Crooks is used to being the only African-American person around, including on the ranch. He is called Crooks because he is crippled and has a crooked spine. Steinbeck describes Crooks as "a proud, aloof man."

After years of experiencing racial discrimination, he keeps away from others and expects that they will treat him in the same way. He is lonely and occupies himself reading books because he can't play horseshoes with the other men. Lennie befriends Crooks one day when the rest of the men are in town, and while Crooks is at first unfriendly, Lennie's simple manner wins Crooks over. Crooks becomes excited about Lennie's dream of owning his own land one day.

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Crooks is the old Negro stable worker who is separated from the other ranch workers because he is black. Crooks is crippled, having a crooked spine, and he sleeps in the harness room. Racism is still quite overt during this time, and Crooks understands this. Since he was forced to sleep in separate quarters, he developed an attitude that if he was to be ostracized, he would likewise not want others to invade his own space; an attitude of "if they don't want me, I don't want them": 

This room was swept and fairly neat, for Crooks was a proud, aloof man. He kept his distance and demanded that other people keep theirs. 

Although Crooks never welcomes guests in his room, he does allow Lennie in to talk in Chapter Four. This is interesting because both Lennie and Crooks are social outcasts, for different reasons. Crooks is proud but he reluctantly accepts that he is a second-class citizen in a racist society. When Curley's wife tells him she could have him hung, Crooks swallows his pride. Later, Crooks asks Lennie and Candy to leave because having his room to himself seems like one of the few rights Crooks has: 

"I ain't sure I want you in here no more. A colored man got to have some rights even if he don't like 'em." 

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