This is a revised version on the first essay I’ve posted here. Any help/feedback is welcome.
P.S.I kind of structured it the same way as my last essay that I did. Hopefully that’s okay.
Describe an important character or individual. Explain why it was important you could relate to this character or individual.
In the novel “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck an important character is Crooks. He is a stable buck and a permanent resident of the ranch, which would infer that he has some authority over others, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Due to the colour of his skin, he is treated differently and isolated by others in the ranch. It is important that I and the readers relate to this character because it helps us gain a better historical context in which the story takes place, and enables us to explore his viewpoint on the world and those around him.
Crooks is the only black man in the ranch, because of this, he is discriminated against. It is essential that the readers relate to Crooks because it helps us gain a better understanding for what it was like for African-Americans in the 1930s. This discrimination can be seen through the various objects in his room, such as the “split collar and the harness.” Through this use of symbolism for control, we can infer that the people who live in the ranch (upper class) don’t see Crooks (African-Americans) as an equal but a tool for them to use for their own monetary gain. This is further reinforced when Curley’s wife threatens Crooks, saying “I can strung you up so easy it ain’t even funny.”Through Curley’s wife actions, we can see that those of the upper class have little to no regard for the lives of those below them, especially African-Americans. They see them as disposables, who are ready to be thrown and used. Part of Steinbeck’s purpose is to provide a social criticism on how society fails those who are vulnerable by not giving them the proper understanding and protection that they deserve. As readers, we sympathise with Crooks. Had Curley’s wife, and society in general, been more understanding of Crooks and those of the lower class, they wouldn’t have had to go through the undeserved traumatic things that they experienced.
Due to discrimination, he is isolated from the rest of the ranchworkers, leading him to be embittered and lonely. It is vital that the readers relate to him because it helps us explore the effects discrimination can have on a person. When Lennie goes over to Crook’s room, “Crook’s face lit with pleasure” as he “tortures” Lennie with the idea of George leaving him, even though he had done nothing wrong. Here, we can see Crooks finds enjoyment in this cruel act in “torturing” Lennie because for the first time in his life he had control, which is something he has been denied. This shows the reader that when you are discriminated against, you become resentful of others and those around you, even towards those who are innocent. These effects are further explored by Steinbeck when Crooks feels sorry for his actions and confides in Lennie that “[he] gets lonely if [he] ain’t got nobody. It doesn’t matter who he is as long as he’s with [me].” Through the words “it doesn’t matter”, it shows the readers that Crooks is desperate for human connection to get rid of the loneliness he feels. He is so desperate that he is willing to go against his nature of “keeping his distance and demanding other people keep theirs.” Here, Steinbeck explores the human condition: the basic need to feel loved and valued. As humans, without this basic need, we can easily feel hatred towards others and the world, even to those who are innocent, like how Crooks “tortured” Lennie. As such, we are able to understand Crook’s viewpoint and the effects discrimination can have on others.
The written text “Of Mice and Men” is a thought-provoking and challenging piece of literature. An aspect which I appreciated in the text is how Steinbeck realistically portrays the hardships an African-American faces in the 1930s through the character Crooks. His hardships, experiences and actions is what makes him, and the story, feel all the more real and relatable.