Explore how Steinbeck uses language to present Crooks. How do you interpret his role in the Novella?

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·         Only Black man

·         His race defines him, like Candy through age and Curley’s wife through gender

·         Racist language-makes us sympathise

·         Not the 1930’s stereotypical black man

Page 81 Line 1- “Had two brothers. They was always near me, always there……Had a strawberry patch. Had an alfalfa patch”

·         There was sweetness in crooks life, represented by the strawberries

·         Taken away from him- “Had” “Was”

·         He had what everyone else wants. He realises that with society the way it it, so full of individualism, the dream is hopeless

·         American dream is unachievable, and you need to work together and live in reality in order to make it work

Page 81 Line 18 “ I see hundreds of men come by the road an’ on the ranches…..an’ every damn one of ‘em’s got a little piece of land in his head……Nobody get’s to heaven, nobody get’s no land”

·         Crooks has realised through his own personal experience that the American dream is unachievable

·         Society has knocked him down so much that he has stopped dreaming-marginalisation


·         We are told that the boss was frustrated and angry so gave ‘the stable buck hell’

·         ‘Ya see the stable buck’s a ******.’ -Crooks will get blamed for everything and anything just because of his skin colour.

·          Steinbeck shows the reader that this isn’t fair and we instantly feel sorry for Crooks even though we haven’t even met him yet.

·         Despite being a ‘******’ Crooks is a ‘nice fella’

·         The ‘boss gives him hell when he’s mad’ -the majority of white people in 1930’s America is extremely racist and evil

Crook’s Room

·         Lonely and isolated because of the racism and prejudice Crooks faces.

·         ‘And he had books too’(page 73) shows just how much time Crooks has by himself

·         Nobody will speak to him or be his friend.  

·         Crooks is banished to the barn and is not allowed to sleep with the others in the


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