Of Mice and Men Chapter 4: Summary & Quotes

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  • 0:04 Crooks: The Stable Buck
  • 0:54 Dreams and Loneliness
  • 2:32 Temptation, Trouble,…
  • 4:00 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.

This lesson will cover the events of Chapter Four of ''Of Mice and Men'', where we meet Crooks and explore the prevalent theme of loneliness in this chapter.

Crooks: The Stable Buck

Chapter Four develops the character of Crooks, the stable buck, who lives alone in a part of the barn. Crooks lives in the barn rather than the bunkhouse because he is black and the ranch is segregated. All of the men except Lennie, Candy, and Crooks have gone to a whorehouse, though George said in the previous chapter he was only going to get a drink to save money for their stake. Lennie, wanting to pet his puppy, comes into the barn, and Crooks gets upset with him for coming into his space, saying, ''You got no right to come in my room. This here's my room. Nobody got any right in here but me.'' He explains to Lennie that he is not allowed in their bunkhouse because of his race, so Lennie is not allowed in his space. Lennie, being naïve, does not understand why Crooks' race matters, making Crooks relent and feel bad for not letting Lennie come into the barn.

Dreams and Loneliness

Crooks, despite his initial reservation, is happy for the company Lennie provides. Lennie tells Crooks that the only person left on the ranch is Candy, who is planning for their shared farm dream. Crooks does not believe Lennie, thinking he is making up the plan. Bitter about his loneliness, Crooks asks Lennie what would happen if George was killed and did not come back to take care of him. John Steinbeck writes, ''Suddenly Lennie's eyes centered and grew quiet, and mad. He stood up and walked dangerously toward Crooks. 'Who hurt George?' he demanded.''' Crooks realizes his perilous situation, and abstains from his verbal torment of Lennie.

Crooks explains to Lennie that he was just asking him about this hypothetical situation because that is what his life is like. He says, ''S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunkhouse and play rummy 'cause you was black. How'd you like that? S'pose you had to sit out here an' read books. Sure you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody--to be near him.'' Crooks' loneliness is a product of racism on the part of the boss and other ranch hands: he is not allowed to do anything with the rest of the men because of his race.

Candy comes into the barn to talk to Lennie about their dream of getting a farm with rabbits. Crooks suggests that they are being foolish because George might spend all of his money at the whorehouse and not be able to afford their farm dream. Candy explains how great life will be on their farm, how they will be in charge of everything and cannot be driven away. Crooks realizes this could be the end to his loneliness and asks to join them as free help.

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