Of Mice and Men

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Crooks Character Analysis

The stable manager, and the only black man on the farm. Crook's name comes from his crooked posture, the result of a kick from a horse. Crooks is bitter from a lifetime of lonely segregation. He thinks of himself as a cynic, and immediately sees that George and Lennie's dream of owning a farm will never come about. Yet at the same time, he can't entirely resist the beauty of the dream, and wants to be a part of it.

Crooks Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below are all either spoken by Crooks or refer to Crooks. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 4 Quotes
I seen it over an' over-a guy talkin' to another guy and it don't make no difference if he don't hear or understand. The thing is, they're talkin', or they're settin' still not talkin'. It don't make no difference, no difference....It's just the talking.
Related Characters: Crooks (speaker)
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

One day while the men are in town, Lennie wanders over to Crooks' room in search of puppies to pet. As the only black man on the farm, Crooks is excluded from every aspect of ranch life besides his work. At first, he is angry at having his own space invaded, but he soon warms to Lennie's affable demeanor and allows him to sit in his room. Crooks attempts to engage with Lennie, but soon realizes that Lennie has a mental disability and cannot fully reciprocate in the conversation.  

In this quote, Crooks acknowledges that he has actually seen most men engage in this way: talking at each other, instead of to each other. As the only black man on the ranch, Crooks can only say that he has seen this happen, rather than experience it himself, since he is largely ignored by all of the men and constantly feels lonely. He is grateful for Lennie's presence so that he, too, can enjoy "the talking," no matter how one-sided the conversation is. 

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A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin' books or thinkin' or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin', an' he got nothing to tell him what's so an' what ain't so. Maybe if he sees somethin', he don't know whether it's right or not. He can't turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can't tell. He got nothing to measure by. I seen things out here. I wasn't drunk. I don't know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an' then it would be all right. But I jus' don't know.
Related Characters: Crooks (speaker)
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

Crooks' isolation on the farm stems from the deeply entrenched racism of society. Because he is black, none of the ranchers will speak to him or let him play their games. As a result, he is given his own room while the other men sleep in bunks, but he feels incredibly lonely all the time. 

In this quote, Crooks' acknowledges that he has seen many strange things on the ranch, but never knows if he has truly seen these things because he has no one to bounce ideas off of. Crooks is so isolated that he does not know whether his conceptions about the world are real or not because he is so cut off from human contact. Crooks longs for someone, anyone at all to speak to, and is happy to have Lennie visit him. His line of thinking underscores why George and Lennie stick together: in the lonely life of a rancher, having a friend who is always by your side is a precious thing. Even though Crooks has his own living space, and a number of possessions that he has accumulated in his room, he would likely trade it all for companionship--similar to the reason why George travels with Lennie, even though he believes he could make more money alone. 

'A guy needs somebody-to be near him.' He whined, 'A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.'
Related Characters: Crooks (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

In an attempt to make Lennie understand how lonely he is, Crooks asks Lennie what he would do if George did not return from town that day. Not understanding the thought experiment, Lennie flies into a rage and demands to know what happened to George. Crooks finally calms him down, and in this quote, he further tries to impress upon Lennie how difficult it is to be as isolated as he has been on the ranch. As a black man, Crooks has been shunned in this part of California, which is largely white, his whole life. He longs for a companion, the way Lennie and George have each other. This sentiment further reinforces how lucky the two men are to have such a strong friendship and attachment to each other. 

I seen hundreds of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an' that same damn thing in their heads . . . every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in his head. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever'body wants a little piece of lan'. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.
Related Characters: Crooks (speaker)
Related Symbols: George and Lennie's Farm
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Despite being warned by George to keep quiet, Lennie proudly tells Crooks of the plan to purchase a farm. Crooks, like Candy, is immediately enticed by the idea of a farm and a place to call home, where he might be treated better than he has been on the ranch. Years of isolation, however, have made him very cynical (for a good reason) and he is scornful of the idea. In this quote, he tells Lennie that though he sees many men come through the ranch with similar ideas, none of them ever follows through with it.

Crooks' statement helps explain why George wants Lennie to keep the land a secret--if another rancher with more money in the bank hears about it, they might poach it before he gets a chance to purchase it. It also shows how similar the lives and dreams of ranchers are--they all long for their own piece of land to call home, and to no longer live a nomadic existence, traveling from ranch to ranch searching for work. Yet, despite the similarities in their sentiments and dreams, there remains very little interpersonal connection. 

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Crooks Character Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the character Crooks appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Crooks, the black stable manager enters with news for Slim. Slim leaves with Crooks, and the... (full context)
Part 4
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks, whose nickname stems from his crooked back, sits on his bunk in the stable. Lennie... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
As they talk, Lennie forgets the farm is a secret and mentions it. Crooks thinks this just one of Lennie's fantasies. (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks describes his childhood in California. As a black man he was always lonely. Even on... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Suddenly angry and bitter, Crooks tells Lennie that George might not return to the ranch. In terrible fear, Lennie nearly... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks says he was just trying to make Lennie understand what it's like to be black... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The conversation turns back to the farm. Crooks says all ranch hands dream about owning land, but nobody ever does, just like nobody... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Candy wanders in. When Crooks again says they'll never own a farm, Candy replies that they have a spot of... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...fires them, he says, they'll just buy their own farm. Curley's wife laughs at him. Crooks also demands she leave, but quiets when she curses him and threatens to have him... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...men return. When George discovers Lennie was talking about the farm, he gets angry. But Crooks says Curley's wife was right, and that he's no longer interested in going to their... (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Slim, Whit, Carlson, Curley, Crooks, and George enter the barn. Curley demands that Lennie be killed. Carlson says his gun... (full context)