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    Please could you give me some pointers on how to improve my GCSE essay, please.

    Heroes and villains: Explore the ways sympathy for and dislike fo Crooks is created in the text you have studied.

    Heroes are the characters who do well for other people’s benefit whereas villains are the characters who are selfish and do things to hurt others. To make the reader fell sympathetic, the writer will portray a character as innocent and then cause a villain to hurt them for no deserving reason. We tend to dislike the characters who hurt the innocent and fight against the good. In Of Mice and Men, the villains are Curley and Curley’s Wife as they both do things to benefit themselves and often to hurt the characters who they believe to be lower than them. The heroes are George and Slim. Slim is a respected character who even treats Crooks with respect. George heroically shoots Lennie so that Curley is unable to torture Lennie. I don’t think that Crooks fairly falls into either category because as soon as he realises that Lennie has learning difficulties, Crooks abuses his power. However, Crooks also defends Lennie against Curley’s Wife.

    On page 22, we see that Crooks is a victim of discrimination. “They let the ****** come in that night.” Firstly, Crooks is called a “nigger” which refers to his skin colour. This is a racist insult used by white people back in the 1930s. It suggests that the novel was set in a time when racism was normal. By calling Crooks a “nigger”, it separates him from the rest of the men on the ranch as he is the only black man on the ranch. Due to these circumstances, we can infer that Crooks is actually a very lonely character because he is isolated by the other men all because of his skin colour. This shows discrimination against Crooks. Also, Candy tells us that they “let” Crooks into the bunkhouse that night. This not only tells us that normally Crooks isn’t allowed in the bunkhouse with the other men, but it also tells us that by letting Crooks in that one night it was almost like he should have been grateful and honoured. This shows the men on the ranch to be very arrogant towards Crooks which then creates sympathy for him because he’s rarely allowed to spend time with the other men, meaning that he has no friends. This means that Crooks is a very lonely character.

    On page 55, we see that Crooks respects and admires Slim. “I can do it if you want, Mr slim.” Crooks refers to Slim as “Mr Slim” therefore showing us that Crooks thinks highly of him and respects him. Clearly, Crooks sees (and accepts) Slim as superior and treats him with consideration instead of acting blunt and harsh like Crooks does with the other men on the ranch. Also, because Crooks offers to do the job for Slim, we know that Crooks admires Slim enough to voluntarily help him out. However, Slim replies with “no. I’ll come do it myself.” This quote shows us that Slim doesn’t take advantage of Crooks and does his own work. Also, we see that Slim speaks to Crooks respectfully and in a well-mannered way. Because of this, we know that Crooks is grateful and appreciative of Slim for treating him like he’s equal. Although, sympathy is still created for Crooks here because it becomes obvious that Slim is the only man on the ranch to treat Crooks fairly.

    On page 73, we see that Crooks is disconnected from everybody else on the ranch. “A little shed which leaned off the wall of the barn.” This quote shows us that Crooks is isolated as he is forced to live separately from the rest of the men. His room is described as “a little shed” which suggests that not much thought was put into where they would allow Crooks to live on the ranch. This hints that they see Crooks more as an animal or an object that they can place anywhere. Also, the quote tells us that his room “leaned off the wall of the barn.” This implies that the horses are seen as more important than Crooks because they are given a larger living space and are taken care of properly. Sympathy is created for Crooks here because we are shown that nobody looks after Crooks or really cares about his well-being.

    On page 75, we see that Crooks is bitter. “I ain’t wanted in the bunkhouse, and you ain’t wanted in my room.” Crooks is shown to be bitter here because he tells Lennie that he’s not welcome into his room. Crooks does this because he takes strong offense to the fact that he’s not wanted in the bunkhouse so he thinks that the white men shouldn’t be allowed in his room. Also, this gives Crooks a rare sense of power over Lennie as he is able to use what rights he has to allow himself to his own space. This creates dislike for Crooks because the reader knows that Lennie means no harm however sympathy is also created because we see that the isolation and abuse has turned Crooks cynical. There’s also the possibility that Crooks’ pride influences his actions because he doesn’t want to admit that he wants Lennie’s company therefore leading Crooks to be lonelier.

    On page 78, we see that Crooks becomes powerful and superior. “I said s’pose George went into town and you never heard of him no more.” This quote shows us that as soon as Crooks saw the opportunity to take control, he took it. This tells us that maybe Crooks isn’t much better than his tormentors or that the discrimination has turned him sour. This portrays Crooks as a selfish character and suggests that in the end, Crooks pities himself. This creates dislike for Crooks because it’s clear to the reader that Lennie cannot understand the racial prejudice against Crooks, therefore he means no harm. However, it’s arguable that Crooks messes with Lennie as an act of revenge. It’s likely that Crooks treats Lennie this way because he’s jealous of the friendship George and Lennie have. This creates sympathy for Crooks because the reader begins to realise how desperately lonesome Crooks really is.

    On page 80, we see that Crooks is shown to be lonely and resentful. “Sure, you could play horseshoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs someone – to be near him.” This quote shows us the effects of loneliness on Crooks and of Crooks desperate need for human interaction and company. Because he is discriminated against there’s nobody around to care for him or provide security. Crooks isn’t allowed to play cards with the other men in the bunkhouse leaving him to re-read his books alone ,so we see Crooks’ desperate plea to be realised as equal. This creates sympathy for Crooks because we see the unfair way in which Crooks is separated from the rest of the men.

    On page 83, Crooks is shown to be disbelieving and cynical. “An’ where’s George now? In town in a whorehouse. That’s where your money’s goin’.” Crooks doesn’t believe in Candy and Lennie’s dream because over the years he has lost all of his faith in dreaming since nothing good has come to him. Also, it seems that Crooks is jealous of Lennie and Candy’s hope and naivety, since he seems to now be incapable of trusting in hopes and dreams. This creates dislike for Crooks because it seems that he is trying to bring Lennie and Candy down and convince them that their dream will never happen just because it’s such an unrealistic dream for Crooks.

    On page 85, we see that Crooks is shown to be confident and unnerved. “Maybe you better go along to your own house now. We don’t want no trouble.” Crooks responds calmly to Curley’s Wife even though it’s obvious that she’s trying to provoke a reaction from the men. His new sense of courage may be brought on by the fact that he seems to have bonded slightly with both Lennie and Candy so he feels confident that both the men will be willing to back him up against Curley’s Wife. However, this creates sympathy for Crooks because we know that Lennie is completely unaware of the threat that Curley’s Wife has brought and Candy is completely powerless against Curley’s Wife.

    On pages 88-89, we see that Crooks is shown to be hopeless and lost. “I could get you strung up on a tree it ain’t even funny.” Curley’s Wife’s threat causes Crooks to lose all his confidence and power as he knows that Curley’s Wife’s word is stronger than is own due to him being black. Curley’s wife is terrorising and manipulating Crooks which causes him to stand down and see her as superior to him. This creates sympathy for Crooks because Curley’s wife uses her position as Curley’s wife as a weapon against Crooks to make him feel scared and powerless.

    In conclusion, I think that Crooks is a good and fair man however he has been turned bitter and cynical by the way others treat him. His race has caused him to become appreciative of any kindness towards him and he is stronger against others due to the constant abuse. Although, throughout the novel we do see that he still struggles with the loneliness of his situation. When we first meet Crooks properly, we see him to be a sour man who doesn’t care for others company but there is a change once he has spent time with Lennie and Candy where he even becomes confident enough to stand up for himself and others. Unfortunately, he is shot back down by Curley’s Wife and ends up back at square one. I think Steinbeck has included Crooks in this novel not only represent the racial prejudice during the time but also to help emphasise the theme of loneliness. Ultimately, I don’t believe that Crooks is a villain but he is a victim instead.
    • TSR Community Team

    TSR Community Team
    Heya, I'm going to put this in the English forum for you as you should get more responses there. Is this an essay which you're going to be graded on? If so you need to take it down as you be accused of plagiarism. Let me know

    You should also check out the forum to see if there's any other threads there which might be helpful to you!


    hey I just noticed that when you start a new paragraph you always start it in the same way maybe try using some discourse markers
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