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How does Steinbeck present Crooks in Section 4
In section 4 we learn that Crooks is an observer. An example of this in the text are the description of his ‘large gold rimmed spectacles’ and ‘he had many books, too.’ We learn that Crooks likes to learn from books and he is very lonely so he secretly goes along and studies by himself of the English language and of other people. This symbol of the spectacle is key because it shows how he is always looking about for things and taking in information that he might use later to then overwhelm others that may end up being slaves from his mind games. The word, ‘too’ also teaches us that Steinbeck also thinks of him as a lower class due to his status in society being lower than the others and is surprised that he had books and was attempting to learn instead of always thinking and doing his work.
Crooks’ speaking changes drastically from when he was torturing Lennie to then being kinder. An example of this is when he, ‘pressed forward some kind of private victory,’ to then speaking, ‘gently.’ We learn that Crooks enjoys taking some sort of power or a victory from making fun or taking over someone’s emotions (like Lennie’s) and going quite overboard especially because their status is quite equal. When suddenly he gets threatened he then backs down because he realises that what he is doing is wrong and he could potentially get very badly hurt from someone who is twice the size of you and that he is not very courageous probably because of what he has been grown up to be as a black person. The word, ’victory,’ teaches us especially that he has barely any satisfactions in life and wat he is doing right now is the best he has ever felt and is such an amazing success, something that he will never get close to again. He changes from a villain into a psychiatrist in a very short period.
We learn that Curley’s wife treats Crooks poorly. An example of this is when Curley’s wife says, ‘Listen nig*er… you know what I can do if I open my trap.’ This is treating him poorly because she is giving him a threat for something that he has never done for something that will get him assassinated or worse just for him to keep his mouth shut. As we know at the time in America it was a very racist time and many people would have listened to what a white woman says that may not be true and not give the black person accused a chance to get out of it. The word ‘nig*er’ is especially poor because it is a very rude word and as soon as she uses that word we assume straight away that it is going to be used in an awful way and in this case Curley’s wife is trying to use that as a superior advantage because there is no way Crooks can respond to that as he is black in an unbalanced society. Another way she puts it is by saying that she could get him hung.
The way Steinbeck shows the racism involved is through the description he lives. He lives isolated from the others in a small room, ‘leaning,’ on the main barn. Another way Steinbeck shows racism is the amount of times the n-word is used throughout the chapter to intimidate him. Steinbeck shows the racism by how his life is so different from the others and that he is living alone because he is black like when at the time there were all white communities like what the situation is in this story. He also shows racism when Curley’s wife says she could get him killed because there are groups like the KKK that were going around killing black people. We feel sympathy for him because time has changed since, Crooks was just an example of someone that was being persecuted for his skin colour, which is awful. Had we been treated like that today we would have probably not been able to live through it, it was a tragic experience for all the people who had to live through it.