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Of Mice and Men

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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Regardless of how intensely the characters of this novel hope and dream, their plans do not find fulfillment. Due to the lack of fulfillment of their dream, the characters face loneliness setting each apart from the other. Unlike George and Lennie, the other character of Crooks has no one to support him and be there for him as Lennie and George have each other. In the story, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck contrasts the loneliness and isolation experienced by Crooks, whom life has made abandon his dream of equality, with the closeness of Lennie and George, establishing a false sense of hope for the achievement of their dream, making the ending tragic because they lose both the dream and their unique friendship no others hold.

Through the character of Crooks, Steinback exposes the hopelessness and loneliness of a black American who has lost all hope for the equality he most desires. Crooks, a stable buck and cripple, lives a life which sets him apart from many others, a life filled with racism. Crooks is forced to stay with the horses in a barn and expected to “keep his distance” because the other ranchers do not want him in the bunk house with them due to his color. As a result of this racism, Crooks has become very lonely and lives a life completely different than the other ranchers. Numerous years of segregation has led him to take care and depend on himself unlike George and Lennie who depend on each other. As Lennie goes to Crooks’s room not realizing it is not a place for him to be, Crooks instantly becomes defensive informing Lennie “[he] ain’t wanted in [Crooks’s] room” just as “[Crooks] ain’t wanted in [the ranchers’] bunk.” The need to be seen as equal is just a hope which will never come true because he is “black”. The cynicism makes him believe there will be no modification in how things go on within this world and he has lost all hopes for equality. Crooks wants to be accepted, wants to join in, but because of his color he cannot. This makes him feel that the only possibility to make him self feel better is to accept his position. Furthermore, the lack of hope has him feeling he is a “busted black nigger” so what he says “doesn’t mean nothing.” Crooks must keep quiet or he is in trouble for speaking because his racial status isn’t as high as the others. There “ain’t a colored man” on the ranch and his disability further sets him apart from the others. The worst part of the way he is treated is he did not grow up as a slave, rather he grew up as a son of a man who owned his own land and at that time he had status. During his childhood, Crooks did not experience racism which makes his current situation even more terrible.

Crooks is not only a victim of racism which gave downfall to his hopes but he is also surrounded by loneliness. Crooks comes to know of the relationship Lennie and George have, hence he takes advantage of Lennie and finds it necessary to torture him mentally. He fills Lennie’s ear by telling him “[George] won’t come back.” Crooks tortures Lennie to ease his jealousy towards the relationship Lennie and George have which Crooks will never have because he is not equal to the others therefore putting set backs upon his social life as well. He wants people to feel the way he does, completely and utterly lonely. Feeling sympathy towards Lennie, he whines expressing to Lennie how “a guy needs somebody to be near him.” Crooks is merely looking for companionship and wanting to be treated as everyone else is being treated. Crooks having been on the ranch for quite sometime wants to get away from all the inequality and lead a life where his anticipation of a dream comes true. Informed of Lennie’s dream, Crooks sees the dream as an opportunity to escape from his current life and therefore consolidates to “work for free” just to be seen as an equal to everyone on the ranch and hold a position in society where he can be independent and have some security. But there is no sense of security or any hope for equality for anyone in a prejudice world, least of all a black stable hand that has a crooked back.

Unlike Crooks, Lennie and George share a bond and a life filled with optimism which Crooks is never able to hold with anyone else. George’s only chance to live differently than the other men is to have a relationship with Lennie which will set him apart from others. George and Lennie, though opposites in their physical description care very much about each other which comes off as a surprise for the ranchers they work with. It merely appears to be a surprise because Lennie, a retarded man, and George, a smart man, look after each other. Even Slim is perplexed that “one guy would take so much trouble for another guy”

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