• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Steinbeck present Crooks in the extract? What is the importance of crooks in the novel as a whole? Of Mice and Men is a powerful and moving portrayal of two men striving

Extracts from this document...


Assignment Title: How does Steinbeck present Crooks in the extract? What is the importance of crooks in the novel as a whole? Of Mice and Men is a powerful and moving portrayal of two men striving to understand their own unique place in the world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other - and a dream. A dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch, but their hopes are doomed, as Lennie - struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy - becomes a victim of his own strength. Of Mice and Men does many things which include: tackling universal themes, friendship and a shared vision, and giving a voice to America's lonely and dispossessed; and in this essay about this poignant novel I will explain how 'Crooks' a key character in this book is presented, and also show his importance to the novel as a whole. In 'Of Mice and Men' Crooks is a black man and is disfigured because of his crooked back. Because of these two things, he is treated as a second-class citizen. We can see that he is treated this way by looking at this extract: "Crooks, the negro stable buck, had his bunk in the harness-room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. ...read more.


He flexed his muscles against his back and shivered." As readers, we empathise with Crooks because he is not treated equally with dignity, and we know from this that Steinbeck believes in equality and fairness. The other men are not cruel to him, but he is aware of their racism and resents it: "They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black." A key moment in Steinbeck novel is when Lennie goes to see Crooks. It's appropriate that when we see him in his own environment of the harness room he is defensive of his environment, telling Lennie that if he is not allowed in the white men's area, then they are not allowed in his. But unlike the rest of the ranch workers, Lennie sees no reason why he should not visit Crooks' room. Lennie's childlike mind does not recognize the idea of racial segregation, so seeing Crooks' light on, he decides to call in. We soon learn that the other men never visit Crooks. Although he grumbles at first about Lennie being there, he soon invites him to sit down and talk. For once, Crooks feels important and he talks freely to Lennie about his life on the ranch. We learn that Crooks was not "a southern negro". When he says this to Lennie it is to show he has status, he was not a slave from the south; he was born and treated ...read more.


The three men are disturbed by the arrival of Curley's wife. She too has been left behind. She seeks out company but the men sense trouble and are unfriendly towards her. When she turns on Crooks, making thinly veiled threats and calling him a "nigger", it reminds him of his low status on the ranch. Her words bring him back down to earth and make him realize that the dream is useless: he will never be treated as an equal. The ending of Chapter Four contrasts bleakly with the earlier optimism and enthusiasm of the three men, before the arrival of Curley's wife. Perhaps the author intends the reader at this point to share Crooks' cynicism about the dream and realize that it will come to nothing. All of the characters have expectations that are sometimes called the 'Great American Dream'. This refers to the idea that people saw America as a 'land of opportunity' where ambitious people could fulfil their dreams. Throughout the novel, Steinbeck seems to be giving us 'clues' to tell us that things will go wrong and George and Lennie will never get the life they desire. The reality for people like Crooks, Candy, Lennie and George is summed up in a single line of the poem To a mouse ;from which the title of this poignant novel is taken : "The best-laid schemes o mice an men, Gang aft agley" (English: "Often go awry"). ?? ?? ?? ?? Joan Jackson 11 White Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The student clearly knows a lot about the novel and is able to describe in great detail the events of the novel and what the characters are like. However, the essay should have had the focus on Steinbeck's character Crooks and his importance to the novel.

Marked by teacher Melissa Thompson 26/03/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How does Steinbeck present ...

    5 star(s)

    'Ya see the stable bucks a nigger'. Although Crooks isn't in the scene, the reader already gets a sense of treatment Crooks gets; as he is referred to as nigger and not by his name. The only proper reference the reader gets of Crooks with him involved in the scene is in chapter 4.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    how does steinbeck present george and lennie in chapter 1

    4 star(s)

    he said sharply. 'lennie, for God' sake don't drink so much.' Lennie continued to snort into the pool." He speaks sharply to Lennie to get his attention but Lennie continues to ignore him just like a child being disobedient to their parent.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Relationship between George and Lennie in Of Mice of Men

    4 star(s)

    wrong instantly thinks of George's disapproval, he also thinks that George won't let him, "tend the rabbit's no more". George reminds Lennie that they are extremely lucky to have each other since most men do not enjoy this comfort, especially men like George and Lennie, who exist on the margins of society.

  2. Good Night Mister Tom - Quick Chapter summary.

    know Will is back The surprise is a baby from 'Jesus' Mum wants to learn the bible verse by verse Mum thinks Will begged for the clothes and she thinks he stole the pictures he did Will then starts to cry Mum gets cross for playing with girls Mum very

  1. Of Mice and Men - 5 Diary Entries

    Candy reckons it's just coz Lennie's bigger than him. Curly's one of those small guys who hates big guys, but he better not pick on Lennie coz Lennie may be dumb but hell he's strong as a bull Earlier I was angry with Lennie coz he spoke infront of the

  2. How does Steinbeck present the American Dream in Of Mice And Men(TM)

    The dream was a hope that every, rancher had an opportunity for a better life. Lennie and George, the two main characters, had such a dream, "Some day were gonna get a little place and a couple of acres". The idea was to get a piece of land, grow crops and have an improved life there.

  1. How Does Steinbeck Show The Importance Of Friendship In The Novel

    We don't have to sit in no bar room blow in' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail then can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.

  2. The ending to 'Of mice and men' is tragic yet inevitable - One of ...

    Furthermore, when George and Lennie were in Weed, Lennie saw a young girl wearing a dress made from a nice material, and because Lennie liked to pet soft things, he went up to the girl and touched her dress, which led to her screaming, Lennie panicking and kept hold on to the dress.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work