Essay on Crooks' Transformation in John Steninbeck's Of Mice and Men

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Chapter Four of John Steinbeck's emotionally moving, but bleak, novel, Of Mice and Men, is devoted to the character of Crooks. The chapter begins and ends with this recluse character applying liniment, a medicinal fluid rubbed into the skin to soothe pain or relieve stiffness, to his "crooked" back. One of the first impressions given to readers is of his physical pain- which presumable parallels his emotional, or spiritual pain. More to the point, however, the first five words of the chapter, "Crooks, the negro stable buck.." (66), characterize the key element driving this characters particular shade of lonliness. For in contrast to the lonliness of Candy or of Curly's wife, Crooks is devided from the world by his race. So, on one level,…show more content…
Of coarse, the "opening" is symbolic not only of the physical, but of the emotional gaps in Crooks. Lennie Small, the strong but mentally challenged laborer, is often the only character that can fill the void for others, such as his friend, George. It is only someone like Lennie that can earnestly ask Crooks why he is not wanted in the bunk house, which Crooks explains is "Cause I'm Black. They play cards in there, but I can't play because I'm black. They say I stink. Well, I tell you, you all of you stink to me" (68). Clearly, he is bitter towards his oppressors. Lennie continues to remain in the annoyed prescence of Crooks explaining George and Lennie's plan to "get a little place an' live on the fatta the lan' (69). At this point, Crooks becomes the oppressor, and the weak revenges himself by pickig on the weaker, and questions whether George, Lennie's friend and guardian, will come back from a night out with the boys. The childlike mind but giant strength of Lennie is troubled to the point of anger. Once Crooks ends his torture because " he saw the danger as it approached him," Crookes begins his speech about of his hopless lonliness: Crooks said gently, "Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he's gin' to come back. Spose you ddin't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy `cause you was black. How'd yo like that? S'pose you had to sit out here an' read books. Sure you coul play oreshous till it got

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