Of Mice and Men

Crooks Character Analysis

The only black laborer on the ranch, Crooks the stable hand is a sensitive but “aloof” man who is ostracized due to his race. Crooks suffers from a crooked spine, an injury sustained in an accident with a horse years earlier. Due to his identity as a black man and a disabled individual, Crooks is doubly marginalized by the people around him. He resents being treated so poorly so often, but he also knows there’s little he can do other than keep to himself and try to avoid the ire of Curley and the boss. Lennie’s poor understanding of social norms and his intense desire for friendship lead him to come to Crooks’s room one evening in search of company. As Crooks slowly and uncertainly lets Lennie into his private world and innermost thoughts, he finds someone who is willing to listen to him for the first time in years—even if Lennie is unable to truly understand the intense frustration and loneliness Crooks feels each day.

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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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), Lennie Small
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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“A guy needs somebody—to be near him.” He whined, “A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody.”

Related Characters: Crooks (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“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), Lennie Small
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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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
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...and the stable hand peeks his head into the room. Slim greets the man as “Crooks,” and asks him what the matter is. Crooks replies that he has some tar ready... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
After Slim and Crooks leave, Whit makes small talk with George about Curley’s wife, remarking on how “she got... (full context)
Part 4
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Crooks, the stable hand, doesn’t sleep in the bunk house with the other laborers—instead, he has... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
On Saturday night, Crooks sits on his bunk alone, rubbing liniment into his sore back, when Lennie appears in... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...wants to sit in his bunk and budget for the place they’re going to buy. Crooks tells Lennie to go visit his puppy if he wants company, warning him to stay... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Crooks begins telling Lennie about his past, explaining that he grew up in California—his family was... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Crooks asks Lennie what he’d do if George never came back from town. Lennie insists George... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Lennie calms down. Crooks urges Lennie to see things from his point of view—he is alone all the time... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Crooks continues reminiscing about his childhood, telling Lennie about how he and his two brothers used... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
A horse whinnies in the stable, and Crooks calls out to ask if Slim has come into the barn. Candy answers, saying he’s... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
...for them to turn a profit on the rabbits once they move onto their farm. Crooks “brutally” interrupts Candy to tell him that he and Lennie are kidding themselves—he predicts that... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...is determined to finally work his own land and reap for himself what he sows. Crooks seems touched by Candy’s resolve, and offers to “lend a hand” to the three of... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Crooks urges Curley’s wife to go back up to the house—he tells her they don’t want... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...“He got his han’ caught in a machine.” Curley’s wife continues messing with Lennie, prompting Crooks to “coldly” order her out of the barn. Curley’s wife turns on Crooks, cruelly telling... (full context)
Male Friendship Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
Crooks, clearly shaken by Curley’s wife’s words, tells Lennie and Candy that they should go. Candy... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
As Candy stands up to go back to the bunk house, too, Crooks asks him to stay back a minute. Crooks tells Candy that he wasn’t serious about... (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...the other men. The game abruptly comes to a stop, and Slim, Whit, Curley, and Crooks all rush into the barn. Candy follows them, and then George arrives. Curley is furious,... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Minorities, Marginalization, and Scapegoating Theme Icon
...back into the barn, shouting that Lennie has stolen his Luger. Curley suggests they use Crooks’s gun to hunt down Lennie, and orders Whit to go into town to get the... (full context)