A Look At The Character Crooks English Literature Essay
In the story it initially shows Crooks as a quick witted black stable-hand, his name Crooks comes from his crooked back. Crooks lives in a predominantly white area in the American outback in the mid 1900’s, he sees himself as a social outcast being a black man and his treatment by white men only confirms this. America was dominated by whites during this time period preceding the American Civil War.
Crooks admits he is lonely and this is validated when Lennie visits him in his room. Initially he turns Lennie away as he believes that if he as a black man is not allowed in white persons house then a white man is not allowed in his but his yearn for company overrides his stubborn belief and he invites Lennie to sit with him. Here we see him override his principles due to his loneliness. Crooks like nearly all of the other characters admits at one time or another to having a overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation. he requests the comfort of a friend but learns to settle for the attentive ear of a stranger.
Similar to Curley’s wife Crooks is a powerless man who has become extremely bitter living such a solitary lifestyle we often see him turn his vulnerability into a weapon and attack those weaker than him. He attempts this with Lennie Crooks shows his malicious side when he plays a cruel game with Lennie, he tries to convince him that George has gone for good. Only when Lennie threatens him with physical violence does he relent and tell the truth. Crooks is portrayed as helpless by his isolation but even at his weakest he still seeks to destroy those who are weaker than him – e.g. his criticism of Lennies dream of the farm and his dependence on George he attempts to gain power by belittling others. When others begin to notice Crooks cruel behaviours he evokes sympathy and feels due to his prolonged loneliness he can justify such behaviours. Throughout the book there is the common theme of characters believing the most visible sign of strength is to oppress others, but in reality this is a weakness
Throughout the story Crooks longs for a sense of belonging which is shown and expected in such trivial ways, such as the right to enter a bunkhouse or to play cards with the other men but always with the underlying element of acceptance. A prime example of this is when Lennie and George talk about the farm. Crooks offers no help and expects not to be actively involved, he merely asks if he can come along to hoe the garden. As he has been treated as a social outcast for so long he continues to believe his livelihood is to serve others and therefore shows little ambition. He would work for free if it meant communicating with others and leaving behind his lonely life; he shows such low self esteem and sense of self worth. Crooks has witnessed many men fall under the same spell but cannot help himself when he asks Lennie for a patch of garden to hoe therefore confirming his thoughts of whites having power over blacks. .
Often the only time the other men really relate to Crooks is when he is working as due to him being black it is not the norm for them all to socialise out of their working conditions, he does not join in other activities other than horseshoes. Due to being isolated for so long this has only fuelled Crooks bitterness, he is known to lash out at people. His loneliness is most apparent when he talks in Lennie’s room, “Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he’s goin’ to come back. S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy cause you was black…A guy needs somebody to be near him” (steinback P.72).
Throughout his life Crooks has never been treated well by any of his co workers and has made little amount of friends which he believes is because he is black, this has affected him greatly and he has turned bitter and acquired an avid animosity towards everyone. Crooks does not know how to socialise because he has never had a chance to learn he cannot relate or even function properly because of how much his loneliness has affected him. Crooks has been alone for so long he expects people not to talk him. He shows a relentless hostility towards anyone and everyone who comes near him he may not even desire friendship but he merely no longer knows how to deal with loneliness.
Crooks isolation is because the society in which he resides in is racist – “a guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’ matter no difference who the guy is, longs he with you. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an he gets sick” here is attempting to find a personal connection with Lennie who also can’t socially interact properly because of his mental disability.
In my opinion Crooks is a good example of loneliness in this story he has lived a solitary life as a black man in a white community, he has learnt to accept he will live a lonely life, his social skills are stifled and under developed. He comes across as a bitter man but on a closer look he is merely as non accepting of others as they have been with him.
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