Crooks in Of Mice and Men: Dream, Loneliness & Quotes

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  • 0:01 The Lonely Stable Hand
  • 0:39 A Friend in Lennie
  • 1:24 Loneliness and Dreams
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has a bachelor's degree in literature and religious studies and a master's degree in religious studies and teaches Hebrew Bible at Western Kentucky University.

Crooks, the stable hand in 'Of Mice and Men,' is very lonely. Most of this is due to the racism of his boss and the other ranch hands. In this lesson, learn more about Crooks and how his situation ties into the major theme of loneliness in 'Of Mice and Men.'

The Lonely Stable Hand

We first meet Crooks briefly, when he sticks his head in the bunkhouse: 'The door opened quietly and the stable buck put in his head; a lean negro head, lined with pain, the eyes patient.' Crooks is the stable hand who cares for the horses in the stable. He is called Crooks because of his crooked back, the result of having been kicked by a horse. He lives in the barn because he is black and is not allowed to live with the white men in the bunkhouse. Crooks is usually quiet and reserved, but as his character develops in the last half of the book, we learn about his overwhelming loneliness and his dream to change his situation.

A Friend in Lennie

One of the major themes in Of Mice and Men is loneliness, and Crooks is a good example of this. Crooks, living alone in the barn, is forced to be separated from the rest of the men as a result of their racism and discrimination. When Lennie comes into the barn to pet his puppy, Crooks gets irritated and hostile towards him for entering his living area, saying, 'You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.' He does not think that Lennie should be allowed in his room since Crooks is not allowed in the bunkhouse. But Lennie, due to his naïve nature, doesn't understand any of this. He doesn't care about Crooks' race and does not see it as an obstacle to their friendship. This leads Crooks to feel guilty, and so Crooks changes his mind and allows Lennie to enter.

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