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    Discuss how JohnSteinbeck portrays the character of Crooks.

    I am going to discuss how John Steinbeck portrays the characters of Crooks. John Steinbeck presents the character of Crooks to show about the racial discrimination in Crook’s background because he is the one who is the black man on the ranch. In 1930s America, the life for black people was difficult due to racism racial discrimination was not illegal in the United States of America; therefore racism was rampant at the time. Whites and blacks were segregated in 1930s America. Black people were paid less than white people and they had to work harder than everyone else, often given the more ‘dirty work’. The lynching of black people was common in 1930s America. White people had a lot of power. As a result, Crooks’ situation powerfully reflects the racial discrimination in 1930s America. The other ranch workers evidently have little respect for Crooks. We can see this through the nickname given to him;‘Crooks’ is an abusive term referring to Crooks’ crooked back by a kick from a horse. Crooks tells Lennie, “I’m black. They play cards in there, but I can’t play.” Crooks was not allowed to play cards with the other ranch workers, or even enter their bunker because of his skin colour, and the other ranch workers say that Crooks “stinks”. The fact that Crooks was also disabled as well as being black, classed him as the lowest in the hierarchical system,resulting in him being paid less than others. Crooks is mistreated really badly due to his skin colour as he can’t share his opinion with the other ranch workers which suggest that he feels lonely and isolated.

    Another character, Curley’s wife threatened to lynch Crooks because he was not being polite to her when he ordered her to leave his room.She made him scared and obedient because she fiercely said, “You know I could do,” make him fears for his life. This made Crooks reply to Curley’s wife as if she was a higher status than him and he always replies with “Yes ma’am.”Although, Crooks and Curley’s wife are similar. They have the same problems in the different situations. Curley’s wife is the only woman on the farm. Because she has no one to talk to. When she tries to talk she is ignored by the white men because they always interrupt her. Crooks is the only black man on the farm. He also has nobody to talk to and can’t share his opinions with the white people. They both have no rights because Crooks is black and Curley’s Wife is a woman, which means they are both discriminated against. “They left all the weak ones here”, she said finally.” It suggests that they are both the weak one, themselves. It’s ironic that she says the weak ones. This is because it includes her but she feels she looks good and is more powerful because she “dropped her fingers and put her hands on her hips” to make the workers look at her as she is an attention seeker.

    Crooks’ life is really hard for him; he can’t escape his job because he is black and he is trapped. Curley’s wife and Crooks both are at the bottom of the farm because they both feel isolated. At one point, “Well you keep your place, then ****** I could get you strung upon on a tree.” This is an example of Curley’s wife treating him badly. She reminds him of this and Crooks realises that he will never achieve the American Dream because of people like her more than Crooks. She threatens him with violence from her husband, Curley, she feels powerful when she says this.However, it only makes her feel powerful for a brief time. She also knows that she is at the bottom of the farm and can say something like that to Crooks her power is short lived. Crooks wants to share the American Dream with Lennie and George, but the problem is that he is black and he can’t do anything. That is how he is being treated really badly.

    The effect on the reader is that it shows us that Crooks is being treated poorly because he is black and can’t help it. Also, Crooks’ life is similar to Curley’s wife because of isolation and loneliness. Crooks ends up where he started at the beginning of chapter 4. The chapter is a circle, like Crooks’ life. They have looked at Crooks differently due to his skin colour.However, we can see that Crooks has his own power because in the stable buck’s room a “small electric globe threw a meagre yellow light.” It suggests that Crooks has more belongings compared with the others. He has his own room and he is not allowed to live around white people. We feel sorry for Crooks and also feel that he is being mistreated. This makes Crooks feel very isolated. We are also angry with the white people because they are racist to Crooks due to racial discrimination. In 1930s, racism did happen to black people in America. That is why Crooks is being mistreated and he can’t escape his job and get a new job as it would be too difficult for him because he is black.

    Additionally, Crooks is isolated because of his skin colour.He is excluded by the other workers because he is disabled and black. This isolation is not only mental for Crooks but also physical. He has to sleep in the stable. He also thinks that most people are out to harm him, so it is difficult for him to form relationships, even if they are available to him.Steinbeck uses Crooks as an example of how all black people were treated. Crooks appears to understand the society in 1930s America. Although he is used to it,he is the cleverest man on the ranch. He can read very well. We know that he can teach himself because he seems intelligent and the other workers didn’t have an education.

    Is this for english? A-level or GCSE?

    I'll give you my verdict after you answer those questions.

    (Original post by 1jonam16)
    I'll give you my verdict after you answer those questions.
    Obviously GCSE considering she posted it as a GCSE thread

    Right, didn't notice that. If it's for English, I think you'd be stretching for a B- as there isn't a lot of analysis. However, you do explore content and semi-evaluate. Maybe introduce a quotation and then analyse what it portrays Crooks to be.
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