Crooks plays a significant part in the novel, “Of Mice and Men,” Crooks is considered the lowest man on the totem pole on the ranch. He desperately needs companionship and equality. He has the intelligence of any of the workers, but they don’t listen to him because he is black. Crooks is a very lonely and bitter man who has “got a crooked back where a horse kicked him,” (Hence his name) His “eyes lay deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity.
” His face was very lean and “lined with deep black wrinkles. ” His lips were “lighter than his face.” Crooks is the stable Buck on the ranch, he usually keeps to himself out in the barn. Being black makes life for Crooks extremely strenuous, He lived in California as a child and has felt the pains of racism his entire life. Although he did play with other white boys as a child, society soon cast him aside.
His name is the first sign that Crooks will be portrayed as an outsider, as Crooks is not a real name. This shows us that the other farm workers have given him this name as a ‘nickname’ to give him an inferior status, and to cast him out of their group.In the ’30’s when the book was written black, Afro-Americans were seen as outcasts and ‘lesses’ humans that ‘whites’.
Steinbeck, who, when he wrote the book, lived in a very unsympathetic society, used the book to bring about his doubts, concerning the views of his piers.
The society in which Steinbeck lived was such that nigros were treated as animals and little more, he tries to portray this in the way that Crooks is treated in the novel, ” ‘Stable Buck-ooh, Sta-able buck! ‘ and then: ‘Where the hell is that god-damn nigger?This effectively shows how Steinbeck attempts to display how his society treats those that I see as being inferior to them as they would do animals. In the novel Crooks lives in the Stable next to where the horses are kept, this is a physical reminder of his position on the ranch, the way that his home is physically far from that of the others, and that it is such deterioration in standards. Crooks’s quarters are smelly and dirty, again reinforcing his inferiority to the others.In his stable he also has a collection of commodities that would not normally be associated with a ranch laborer, in the plot it is indicated that he intends to stay on the farm due to his crooked back, and not move to a new ranch when work there is completed as George and Lennie do. This is a method used by Steinbeck to isolate Crooks from the other workers. As is the way in witch he is given a different job than George and Lennie, as a disabled worker he can only complete menial tasks such as looking after the horses, degrading his usefulness and thus pushing him away even further.Although Jane Eyre is as much an outsider in her society as Crooks is in his, they are in completely different circumstances, but as with of mice and Men Jane Eyre is treated as an inferior person, but for different reasons. Jane was orphaned as a young girl and as such was sent off to live with her aunt at Gateshead Hall, where in her own words, “was at a discord at Gateshead hall: I was like nobody there; I had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed, or her children, or her chosen vassalage.” This bad temperament as portrayed by Bronte is a device to isolate Jane from the rest of the family by using her opposing views and unwillingness to play or converse in a reasoned discussion with the Reed children. This is amplified when she is not allowed to play with the Reed children’s toys even when she wants to, just as Crooks is not allowed to sleep in the bunk house. Jane’s attitude right from the beginning of the novel when Bronte pictures her refusing to go on the walk and again disrupting the harmony of the family.Bronte uses Jane as Steinbeck used of Mice and Men, to give the public their view on how outsiders were treated, however rather than racism, Bronte, who herself had to publish under a false name to avoid the stigma of her society, tackles sexism and the class system. Jane who comes from a fairly habitual background, and being female has to suffer the same stigmata that her author did, this pushes her to the edge of her social order.The way that Jane has changed from a bleak Landscape to the relative comfort of an upper class mansion, focus’s her isolation when she looks back on her past as she looks out to the desolate past that is the frosty garden. Also the Language that Bronte gives Jane to use such as “What does Bessie say I have done? ” and “‘what do you want, Mr. Reed,’ I said with awkward defiance,” Is very composite for a young girl.It is also very defiant to speak to those that have taken her in such a manner, constructing a feeling of seclusion around her yet again, reinforced by her preferring to read alone in the study behind the curtain as she looks out to her past, and future, bleakness. Both Bronte and Steinbeck use the stigmas of their time to great effect in the respective novel to create the desired isolation of their characters. What they have in common is their desire to break these stigmata, Steinbeck the cruelty of racism in the southern states and Bronte the constraints of sexism in the upper echelons of society.