‘a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn. … Crooks’ bunk was a long box filled with straw’
The setting of Crooks’ room suggests the RACIAL PREJUDICE against him as he is isolated from the rest of the workers, causing great LONELINESS, and treated like an animal.
“They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black. They say I stink.”
This shows that since Crooks was different from the rest of the workers, he was judged and secluded. He was never allowed to do what the white men did since he had a different skin color.
‘Crooks’ face lighted with pleasure in his torture’
Lennie’s lack of understanding allows Crooks to wield power over him, which he is evidently enjoying.
“They’ll take ya to the booby hatch. They’ll tie ya up with a collar, like a dog.”
Crooks’ threats FORESHADOW the end of the novel when George shoots Lennie to prevent him either being lynched or locked up in an asylum.
“Books ain’t no good… a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick.”
Crooks is used to convey the psychological effects of LONELINESS.
“white kids come to play at our place, an’ sometimes I went to play with them, and some of them was pretty nice.”
Like most kids, they are naive and therefore didn’t understand why his father didn’t like him playing with the white kids. This is undoubtedly a product of racial issues. “I know now” speaks to Crooks’s adult experience of racial conflict and discrimination.
“Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land.”
Crooks is pessimistic about the ability of poor working men to achieve their DREAMS, especially the American Dream of land of one’s own. He feels that the dream of land is as unachievable in this life as a dream of heaven.
“Maybe you just better go along an’ roll your hoop.”
This too shows how everyone perceives Curley’s wife. What Candy is describing is an old child’s game known as hoop-and-stick. No one on the ranch -apart from Curley- sees this girl as any more than a child.
“Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he?”
Curley’s wife is clearly dissatisfied with her relationship with her husband, as shown by the use of sarcasm.
“An’ what am i doing’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs … an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.”
This comment reveals Curley’s wife’s (and society’s) prejudice toward black people, old people and people with learning difficulties. It also reveals Curley’s wife’s loneliness due to her own discrimination, sexism: she is ostracised by all of the other ranch workers, so she is left with only the “bindlestiffs” to talk to, because there “ain’t no-one else” who will not turn her away.
“you keep your place then, ******. I could get you strung upon a tree so easy it ain’t even funny”
Crooks asks to join the dream farm as a place of companionship and equality, but Curley’s wife reminds him that, in real life, he has no POWER and is a victim of PREJUDICE. She does this because she is so LONELY and DISEMPOWERED by PREJUDICE against her as a woman.
‘Crooks reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego’
Crooks was becoming convinced that the dream was real and attainable, but when Curley’s wife comes in, she talks down on Crooks enough for him to remember his place as a black man on the ranch. He then reclaims, what he believes is, his place as an emotionless empty person.
“He pulled out his shirt in back, poured a little liniment in his pink palm and, reaching around, he fell slowly to rubbing his back.”
Shows the cyclical structure present in the story. Crooks began the chapter rubbing liniment on his back and ends the chapter the same way, it represents the inescapable nature of suffering for Crooks. He always ends up alone. He is destined to the same routine and life due to the colour of his skin.