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The role of Crooks and accounting for his hopelessness.

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Introduction

The role of Crooks and accounting for his hopelessness John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. His father worked for the local government in Monterey County, and his mother was a schoolteacher. His most famous books were written in the 1930s and 1940s, and are set in California. John Steinbeck wrote the novel 'Of Mice and Men' in 1936, around the time of mass unemployment such as America and Europe had not experienced before. At the time Steinbeck was a young man, he wanted to write about the difficulties millions of Americans like himself were being faced with. There was a 'boom time' in 1920s America, and there was work to do and fortunes to be made but in the 1930s came a time of unemployment and poverty. Black people suffered a great deal worse than white people in the Depression. In large numbers they left the southern states, hoping to find work in the north. When they got there they realised there was no work there either and racism was just as common. In the novel set in South California, we are introduced to the only black man on the ranch and through this man Steinbeck aims to portray the relationships between black and whites in America. 'Crooks' is named because of his crooked spine. Steinbeck develops the character of Crooks, the black stable buck in the fourth chapter, describing him as a, "proud, aloof man". ...read more.

Middle

The only relationship he can find is with his books. Crooks experiences isolation from the other men because the society he lives in is racist. He is made to live on his own in the barn and can't join in many social activities. The words, "don't matter no different who the guy is, longs he with you" shows that Crooks would work for nothing, as long as he could communicate with others. Crooks can also identify that although Lennie relies on George, George also relies on him to be a friend and the fact that Lennie is retarded makes no difference because they have something all other workers are envious of - Friendship. Crooks realises that because of his physical difference he is submitted to racial discrimination which blocks him from ever achieving a relationship between the men on the ranch and he accounts for his hopelessness at ever finding friendship. Crooks is a very lonely character, he is an outcast because not only is he a cripples but he is black. Most men are prejudiced against him. He has to stay in his room because of his appearance. As Lennie appears in his doorway, Crooks quickly puts his barriers up and says sharply, "You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.....I ain't wanted in the bunk-house, and you ain't wanted in my room." Lennie asks, "Why ain't you wanted?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Crooks becomes so frantic for a relationship that he offers his services to George and Lennie for free, just to escape his loneliness. Making his dream of acceptance and company hopeful. His attitude soon shifts back to normal as Curley's wife exposes his frailties, characterising him as a crippled character. Curley's wife provides some interesting similarities to Crooks; both are shaped tongued and intelligent, and effected by their minority status at the ranch. She knows the power she wields over men, being Curley's wife and even threatens him with lynching. "Listen, Nigger, you know what I can do to you if you open your trap." Suddenly reality catches up with Crooks, "Crooks stared at her hopelessly." What was he thinking about living with white people, planning out his dream when they talk to him that way? When Curley's wife leaves he asks the men to leave afterwards because he is upset that he has been reminded of how hopeless he really is due to his physical race. He tries desperately to savage his pride and dignity, "Member what I said about howin and doin' odd jobs?...Well just forget it" Curley's wife destroyed and shattered the dreams he had with Lennie and Candy, he was suddenly dawned with the acceptance of his fate and realises that he'll never be able to achieve his dreams due to the harsh reality that people can't look beyond his appearance, making him hopeless of ever gaining those dreams. Natasha White ...read more.

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