Crooks in of Mice and Men

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CROOKS DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF CROOKS IN THE NOVELLA OF MICE AND MEN. CONTEXT 1930’s America was a tough place to live in for black people, or in fact, anybody that was not white. During this time, black people were treated like second class citizens and frequently found themselves segregated and ostracised due only to the fact of the colour of their skin. They did not have the same rights as white people and in some parts of America were in fact considered no better than animals. The rise of white supremacist groups such as the KKK during this era also meant that black people had to ‘know their place’ for if they didn’t they often faced severe punishment. They were also not allowed, for example, to share the same space as white people and often had their own areas to live in. This is highlighted in the novel by the fact that Crooks has to sleep in the harness room whilst the others live in the bunkhouse. APPEARANCE Steinbeck creates a very specific image of Crooks from the moment we are introduced to him. He first appears in chapter 3 as his puts his head through the door and is described as having ‘a lean negro head, lined with pain’. Immediately, the quotation ‘lined with pain’ implies that Crooks has had anything but an easy life. Furthermore, as well as being alienated for being black, he is also marginalised for being a cripple. There are many references throughout the book to Crooks continually rubbing liniment into his crippled back. This suggests that Crooks must struggle to work through his pain yet does not complain as realistically he has no choice. By creating a crippled character, Steinbeck ensures that almost immediately we sympathise with the character of Crooks which is necessary in order for us to sympathise with him. In addition to his own appearance, Steinbeck cleverly uses pathetic fallacy in order to describe the
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