Crooks' Alienation

Essay by Jimmie-BoiJunior High, 8th gradeA+, January 2008

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CROOKS’ ALIENATION“Alienation as our present destiny is achieved only by outrageous violence perpetrated by human beings on human beings.” – R. D Laing 1927-1989, British Psychiatrist.

The loneliness of an African American might be unrivaled by anything else. Hardly any African American had equal payment of a white person during the time of the Great Depression. The whole general society was racist. John Steinbeck shows this conflict in Of Mice and Men through Crooks, a stable buck with a handicap in his back. Crooks lives in near total isolation from company. Crooks is alienated in mainly three ways, the way he keeps to himself in his room, how he is very concerned about his dignity, and how he reprises because of his past.

Crooks spends almost all of his free time, alone, in the harness room which is his sanctuary as well as prison. He is very possessive of his little room since it is one of the few things he owns.

Lennie comes to Crooks’ room because all the other farm workers have gone into town. Lennie wanted some company so he went to Crooks. The stable buck shoots back “You go and get out of my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house and you ain’t wanted in my room” (68). This shows that Crooks is very protective of his rights. It could be compared to a street dog that fights away the others to have a tiny speck as his own. Crooks has a habit of taking revenging for what other people have done. Since Lennie is very vulnerable he is a natural target. Crooks’ has lots of pride and doesn’t want it to get nagged, so he acts aggressively. He can’t come into their place; they can’t come into his.

Just before Lennie finally persuades the stable buck to let him in they talk about why Crooks is never included. They talk about the card games. Crooks angrily says “They say I stink. Well I tell you, you all of you stink to me” (68). Crooks is hurt by how the others treat him and for once shows it since only Lennie is around. He still doesn’t open himself completely to Lennie, he insults the other workers just as they insult him. Crooks wants to take out some anger from what people from the past have done to him, he takes out some of the anger on Lennie since he won’t strike out on him.

Due to the fact that Crooks is locked away in his room, he is alienated since the others don’t see him often. Crooks doesn’t try - until Lennie comes - to actually make friends. Slim is an exclusion.

Crooks does not show much respect o anyone on the ranch except for Slim. Crooks has been hurt too many times to walk again so he draws to himself.

Crooks complains about Lennie being in the barn. Lennie says that he just came to see his puppy. Crooks tells him “Don’t come in a place where you’re not wanted”. As the other workers fail to respect Crooks, Crooks fails to respect the others. Crooks has grown very aggressive over time. The only person Steinbeck shows that Crooks respects is Slim. “Mr. Slim, you told me to warm up tar for that mule’s foot. I got it warm” (50). Any other worker would probably have snapped something back at Crooks, but Slim answers him in a kind way “Oh! Sure Crooks. I’ll come right out an’ put it on” (50). The reason for Crooks to respect Slim is because Slim respects him. Up to the point where Lennie enters Crooks’ room, nobody but Slim and the boss have been in there. Just the fact that Crooks calls Slim “Mr. Slim” proves that Crooks has a great deal of respect for him.

As time goes on and Crooks is more and more neglected of company, his hope for company grows less and less. He builds walls around himself but leaves a gate open for Slim. Lennie is able to overcome that wall in the end though.

Because of his past, Crooks has a hostile manner toward white people.

When Crooks talks to Lennie, he tells him about his past. He says “I went to play with them (the white kids) and some of them was pretty nice. My ol’ man didn’t like that.” In his early childhood, Crooks wasn’t very different from the others. But he received an upbringing that taught him that white people weren’t nice. That lecture has stayed with him until now and so he is naturally hostile towards the white ranch workers. When Lennie comes into his room, Crooks first sets to torturing him with the idea of George not coming back to him. “Crooks face lightened with pleasure in his torture” (71). Crooks enjoys his power since he is at the bottom of the power pyramid in every other case. Crooks has finally got some of his frustration out through torturing Lennie. The stable buck is smart enough to know when to stop. When Lennie towers above him Crooks remembers his position and calms him down again.

Crooks, the handicapped African American stable buck, is a lonely man. Crooks is isolated from everyone else mainly because of his color. Crooks is just a lonely African American man that wants to have people around him.

Bibliography: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck