Of Mice and Men
In John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, he uses Crooks to express loneliness because his character is a perfect example of how it was to be a black man. Steinbeck uses Crooks to show his readers what it was like to be lonely. Crooks is the loneliest in the novel because he has no one to talk and he is black.
Crooks was introduced to the novel as just a black stable buck. Before his character appeared, the men talked about him as if he were a horse, and they made fun of him because he walked with a limp. He had a limp because he was kicked in the spine by a horse once. When he finally showed up, it was just to receive an order, and the way he did it seemed like he was a frightened animal, terrified of his owner’s whip. He had no one to talk to, no one to keep him company and no one to treat him like he was important. In chapter 4, Lennie goes into Crooks’ room and they start talking about being lonely. Crooks says to Lennie “‘Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody ___ to be near him.’ He wined, A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you'”(72). This shows you how lonely Crooks gets all by himself with nothing to do but read. Even though it seems like he is talking about any guy that is lonely, he is expressing what he feels inside. That is one of the many examples that shows how Crooks feels.
In the nineteen thirties, the Great Depression occurred. It was a time when money was scarce, lots of people lost their jobs and became poor, and sometimes homeless. Crooks did hard labor and obeyed every command given by the boss. If he lost his job, he would have no where to go. No one would hire anybody because of the money problem in that time, and if they did, it wouldn’t be a black man, let alone, a crippled black man. So Crooks was basically stuck in the same place for awhile, and he was without anybody to talk to. At least being a stable buck he had people around him most of the time. In chapter 4, Crooks and Lennie have a conversation about Crooks being a black. Crooks said to Lennie:
Well, I got a right to have a light. You go on and get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room. Why ain’t you wanted? Lennie asked.
‘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 stink to me.(68)
This explains how Crooks feels about being rejected by the guys in the bunk house. He sounds like he doesn’t want Lennie to stay, but inside, he just wants someone to talk to. He tries to act like he doesn’t want to be friends with the guys in the bunk house, but that is really the exact opposite of what he wants.
In chapter 4, Crooks says to Lennie, “‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick'”(73). Crooks is trying to tell Lennie how unhealthy it is to be alone. It is important because it tells even the reader how Crooks and how all people need somebody to talk to. Just because you might look different, or act different, doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings or need somebody to talk to.
He says something else to Lennie, like he is talking about someone else again, but he’s talking about how he feels. He said:
Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He’s got nothing to measure by. I seen things out there. I wasn’t drunk. I don’t know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an’ then it would be all right.