When Lenny visits Crooks, Crooks says a few things that verify his loneliness and how much he wishes he could be accepted. ‘Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody - to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.’ This quote shows how being black has affected Crooks, because he has nobody to turn to. Although this shouldn’t be the case, just by the colour of his skin Crooks is leading a miserable life.
He is not even allowed to enter the others (white men) bunkhouse, or join them in a game of cards. Crooks tells Lennie his thoughts about not having anyone ‘“A guy needs somebody to be near him. 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. I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick”’.
The boss gives him “hell” but despite this Crooks claims not to “give a damn” which suggests he is independent and proud. Crooks is separated from everybody else, by being given his own room. However it also holds horses’ harnesses and it is right by the manure pile. This shows that he is just being segregated and the position that his room is in show his position in the ranch is very low. They only “let the nigger” in the bunk house during Christmas and then only purely for their entertainment.
This has been particularly shown when Lennie enters his room. Crooks responds aggressively with “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.” The use of the verb “right” underlines the inequality between the two races in 1930s and that implies that Crooks doesn't think its fair in the world where the white appear to rule, he has no right, so in his room where he is in charge, the white (Lennie) has no right. Also the repetition of the possessive pronoun “my room” shows that Crooks' room is his own private 'world' and that this separates him from the other workers; as he is forbidden to enter the bunk house, so he believes the other workers are forbidden for entering his room.
Being a nigger, Crooks is hated by the whites at the ranch and he resents this. As he says "If I say something, why it's just a nigger sayin' it" and this shows his anger at being pushed to the side. Being troubled has made him seem cruel and gruff, but also has turned him to self-pity and the idea that he is a lesser human. He says to Lennie, "You got no right to come in my room.....You go on get outa my room. I ain't wanted in the bunkhouse and you ain't wanted in my room."
Crooks is a man, supposedly young but disabled, that likes books and keeps his small room neat, but has been so beaten down by loneliness and prejudicial treatment of that he is now suspicious of any kindness he receives. Racial discrimination is part of the microcosm Steinbeck describes in his story. It reaches its height in the novel when Curley's wife puts Crooks "in his place" by telling him that a word from her will have him lynched. Interestingly, only Lennie, the child-like character, does not see the color of Crooks' skin. Crooks isn’t ashamed about his inheritance but has pride and tells Lennie he doesn’t descend from slaves but from landowners.
The novel begins with Lennie who has a mouse in his pocket; George then takes it out and throws it away, making Lennie get into a temper. George takes Lennie to a ranch where he tells him to say nothing as he feels if he lets him speak he would muck everything up. He then tells Lennie that everything would be easier if he wasn’t around. Lennie is terrified that George will leave him because Lennie totally relies on George. George knows he won’t leave him but likes to threaten him.
Steinbeck describes Crooks’ living condition to be, “For being alone…Crooks could leave his things about, and being a stable buck and a cripple, he was more permanent than the other men” (67). Crooks’ deformed back deprive him of working with the other men, thus denying him an opportunity for personal contact with them. Next, Crooks becomes accustomed to seclusion and begins to be suspicious of any man who tries to make friends with him. Crooks cannot go in the bunkhouse of the white ranch hands; therefore, he turns Lennie away from his own place. His longing for company wins over and he then invites Lennie to accompany him (68).
Daily, he returns to a loveless, meaningless marriage symbolized by his cold bedroom furnished with twin beds. Drawn to the lights and conversation of the McClellan family next door, he forces himself to remain at home, yet he watches them through the French windows. Through his friendship with Clarisse McClellan, Montag perceives the harshness of society as opposed to the joys of nature in which he rarely partakes. When Clarisse teases him about not being in love, he experiences an epiphany and sinks into a despair that characterizes most of the novel. He suffers guilt for hiding books behind the hall ventilator grille and for failing to love his wife,
However Candy does describe Crooks as a “nice fella”. From Candy we also learn that Crooks has his own room, separate from the bunkhouses. We later learn that he is not allowed into the bunkhouses because of the colour of his skin. We are told of an incident at Christmas where a “little skinner name of Smitty” takes after Crooks. The other men would not allow him to use his feet due to Crooks’ back but thought it perfectly fine to be fighting him.