Curley's Wife and Crooks in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men
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Curley's Wife and Crooks in Of Mice and Men
- Lord Chesterfield once said, "You must look into people, as well as at them." If you apply this logic to Curley's wife and Crooks in the book, Of Mice and Men, you will find that they are the same in many ways despite their differences in race and sex. These two unfortunate souls live in a world full of shattered dreams, discrimination, and loneliness.
Langston Hughes once said, "Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." This statement is undoubtedly a summary of the goals in Crooks, and Curley's wife's lives. Crooks had a glimmer of hope when Candy and Lennie told him of their plans of having their own farm. At first, he refused to…show more content…
Curley had money, which was something that she needed so she chose him for a husband. She then is disappointed with her present life and unhappy with her new husband.
Discrimination is a prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment of a human being based on age, sex, or race. This is one of the main themes of the novel. Crooks is discriminated because he is of African American decent. Many of the men on the farm were racist which was common at this time. Because of Crooks's color, he was not allowed to eat, sleep, or even in the others' cabin. Therefore, Crook is angry at society for oppressing him so severely.
Curley's wife is cast out because she is a woman. Curley watches over her carefully since she is his wife and the only woman on the farm. Curley does not allow his wife to converse with the other workers because he is afraid she will be unfaithful. She complains that individually, the men are generally nice, but in groups, they shun her and are sometimes cruel. Since Curley's wife is oppressed, she lashes out at a target that is weaker than she is, which is usually Crooks. He does the same.
Finally, the most significant point is loneliness. Crooks and Curley's wife are the loneliest people in the book. Crooks says, "Books ain't no good. A guy needs somebody to be near him…" It is evident that he is very lonely.
Curley's wife is also lonesome because she is only
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Throughout the 1920’s, black people and women in America have been forced to live through poor social conditions. Until recent years, these people have been excluded from society and were considered outcasts in a typical community. John Steinbeck shows the reader this in his novella, “Of Mice and Men. ” Steinbeck uses the characters of Crooks and Curley’s wife to display that although one character is a black male and the other, a white woman, they still have similar traits. These factors like discrimination, loneliness and shattered dreams make Crooks and Curley’s wife parallel.
Crooks and Curley’s wife suffer from discrimination around the ranch. Steinbeck expresses discrimination, or prejudice, very simply by refusing to give Curley’s wife a name. She is displayed as only a mere item of Curley’s. Curley’s wife is disliked by ranch hands as they only see and think “she’s a rat trap if I ever seen one” and refuse to talk to her. In a similar fashion to Curley’s wife, Crooks is discriminated and treated unfairly in comparison to the other ranch hands. It is simply evident as they refer to Crooks as a “nigger”. This is offensive but he is at the bottom of the hierarchy so evidently “he don’t give a damn about that”.
His room is situated away from the others as they “don’t want nothing to do with him. ” Crooks is alike Curley’s wife as they are both discriminated and excluded from society. Prejudice towards Crooks and Curley’s wife causes them to be very lonely. Due to the fact that the ranch hands find Curley’s wife troublesome, it means that “she can’t talk to nobody” and this causes her to be lonesome. Steinbeck illustrates Curley’s wife in a way that makes her seem flirtatious and “purty” and this is all the men see in her, though she is simply just trying to make conversation.
Loneliness is also seen in Curley’s wife as she “don’t even like Curley who ain’t a nice fella” and therefore has nobody to communicate with, “even [her] own husband”. Crooks, alike Curley’s wife, is also lonely as he is the only coloured man in the ranch. Due to this, he is isolated from the other men and therefore has nobody to talk to. Crooks’ loneliness can be identified by the scene in the novella when Lennie enters Crooks room. At this moment, Crooks seizes the opportunity to speak with someone at tells Lennie “you might as well set down” and later realises that it’s just the fact that “they’re talking” and “being with another guy”.
This shows that Crooks admires Lennie’s company because he is so lonely every other time. Crooks and Curley’s wife’s discrimination causes them to be lonely. Crooks and Curley’s wife have dreams of their own which have been shattered but they are constantly trying to put them back together. When Curley’s wife was fifteen, she “coulda been in the movies… an’ had pitchers took of me”. However, her “ol’ lady wouldn’t let [her]. At that moment, Curley’s wife’s dream had been shattered by her mother.
Throughout the novel, she dresses seductively in attempt to rebuild her dream of being a movie star and “had nice clothes like they wear. ” In a related manner, Crooks also had the dream of having the feeling of living on his father’s ranch again. When in conversation with Lennie, Crooks reminisces about his past and how his “old man owned a chicken ranch”. In the past, “white kids come to play at [Crooks’] place, an’ sometimes [he] went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice”. He was on the verge of fulfilling his dream, when it was ruined by his father “who didn’t like that”.
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Crooks joins George and Lennie’s dream of owning their own land, in effort to restore his dream of living and playing on his father’s ranch with white people. By joining George and Lennie’s dream, Crooks would be living with white people as well as working on a farm, parallel to his father’s. The dreams of Curley’s wife and Crooks which somehow or another have been ruined and are attempting to piece it back together. Crooks and Curley’s wife, though they are physically opposite, have parallel characteristics which can be identified from causes like prejudice, loneliness, and dreams that have been destroyed.
Author: Josh Garten
Of Mice and Men – Crooks and Curley’s Wife
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