Discrimination in “Of Mice and Men”

Published in 1937, Of Mice and Men is revered as one of Steinbeck’s most essential and influential novels. Narrating a couple of days in the lonesome lives of two traveling laborers, George Milton and Lennie Small, Of Mice and Men spectacles the crushing impact that the Great Depression had on many American’s capabilities to thrive financially. Like Steinbeck’s other work written during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men remarks on the obscurity of the American Dream and the fabricated hope of measurable wealth that is often dangled in the face of the lower and middle classes.

One person, One room, books a bed and a table, people around you but not with you, ordered with nothing in return. What does that sound like to you? Depressing, quiet, maybe even a little bit lonely? Crooks was a black stable buck on a ranch in the book “Of Mice and Men”. Crooks feels like he is segregated, not wanted, and he just wants to talk to people.

Crooks feels like he is segregated from the other workers because he is black. When Lennie talks with Crooks in his room and asks why Crooks doesn’t interact with the other worker’s Crooks replies “‘S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy’ cause you was black’”(72). When Crooks says this he is stating why people don’t want to interact with him because he is black. This leads to him being segregated from all of the workers at the ranch.

Crooks feels and knows that he is segregated from the rest of the workers when he gently admitted to Lennie in their conversation that ‘Maybe you can see now. You got George. You know he’s goin’ to come back. S’pose you didn’t have anybody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunkhouse and play rummy’ cause you were black. How’d you like that.’ When Crooks says this he is telling Lennie straight up how he feels and how he really has nobody and how alone he really is. Crooks was longing for people. Crooks really long for interaction with people. People at the ranch don’t talk to Crooks because he is black and semi-disabled which is degraded in the culture back in that time period.

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