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The Hunchback of Notre Soledad

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The Hunchback of Notre Soledad This essay is about Crooks - the black hunch-backed stable buck of the ranch that George and Lennie go to work on - and about racism in the American depression, the 1930s. Crooks Crooks plays a small but significant role and I will attempt to explain why Steinbeck put him in the novel. Here are some things I picked up about him and how they relate to the rest of the novel and the other characters. * Nicknames. "Crooks" may be referring to his back, and it reminds you of the poem: "There was a crooked man..." etc. It makes you think he may be dishonest, a crook, which is ironic as everyone makes out that black men are crooks. Curley means his wiry hair, Slim is because he's slim, and Candy is sweet, very American, and everybody likes him. But don't nicknames usually show affection? Who gave Crooks his nickname? * How solitary he is. Maybe when he was younger, he was more outgoing, but he was rejected by white people so he only thinks about himself now. He only associates a little, maybe because he doesn't trust white men. He does things by himself, for himself. ...read more.


* He likes a very repetitive lifestyle, like you hear the horseshoes clanging on the wall, and the horses stamping their feet outside his room. He gets a little upset at first when men come into his room because it may disrupt his schedule if they stay to chat, and he doesn't much like white men anyway. * He changed his mind about being in the dream, maybe because he felt they'd only asked him to be in it for the same reasons that the boss hired him: to do the jobs that everybody else hates, as a scape goat or punch bag, or out of pity. He may have felt that he'd be a little left out of everything they did. * What would he be like as a white man? This is very important as your colour then decided how you would be treated for your entire life. He would have more confidence, maybe a better job, wouldn't have the same dream as black people... he might even be racist himself. He would still have a hunchback though, so he wouldn't be as able as other men. He would be less lonely, more social... He might even have gone with the dream. ...read more.


An organisation called The-Jobs-For-Negroes began, and boycotted white-owned department stores that would cater to Negroes but refused to employ them. Though it started in St Louis it spread through the Mid-West and when it reached Harlem, a bigger version was founded. Some of the blacks in this group wanted black capitalism, some favoured repatriation to Africa, and still more wanted the Negro to achieve full rights and dignity within the American system. They picketed white-owned stores on 125th Street. They carried signs saying, "Don't buy where you can't work," and Powell claimed that they were able almost to stop trade totally at any place they chose to picket. But then Roosevelt promised a New Deal, for the unemployed, the workers, and the Negroes. He hired black people in government positions, as well as other changes, and though Negroes had before been hired in these positions, he did it for different reasons, not for poli tical ones so much but because they were experts in their fields of knowledge. Soon the country was doing well. But though the New Deal helped the Negro, it also decreased his independence and self confidence. The large number of Afro-Americans who were receiving government aid in one way or another were aware of their dependency. Afro-American communities, which had been regarded as "The Promised Land," slid into poverty and dejection. ...read more.

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