Of Mice and Men: the Rise and Fall of Crooks
In chapter 4 of mice and men, John Steinbeck first begins to really introduce the character known as Crooks. He is a stable buck who is treated poorly simply because of his race. Throughout Crooks’ time at the ranch, he is generally shunned from the other workers with the exception of Slim. This all changed however in chapter 4 when Lennie stumbles into his room looking for something to do. This of course, led to the rise and fall that Crooks went through that day.
What seemed like an average day for Crooks, turned into a very a good one which in this case is the rise of Crooks. Lennie shows up in Crooks’ doorway and talks a little with him. At first Crooks’ is very defensive and unsure of whether to act tough or be inviting. Eventually, he allows Lennie in and the two talk for awhile. Unfortunately, Lennie’s short attention span makes it tough for Crooks to start up a good conversation. (“There wasn’t another colored man on this ranch an’ there’s jus’ one family in Soledad. ” He laughed. If I say something, why it’s just a nigger sayin’ it. ”)(pg 70) This bold statement that shows Crooks’ deep emotions was given a response that didn’t even apply to the situation. (Lennie asked, “How long you think it’ll be before them pups will be old enough to pet? ”)(pg 70) Yet despite the stupidity of Lennie, Crooks remains pleasant and continues to talk with Lennie. Not too long after Lennie, Candy arrives and is invited in. All of a sudden, Crooks finds himself with two other workers on the ranch just talking.
He forgets all about the discrimination he receives and is suddenly on top of the world. Unfortunately, Crooks’ joyfulness is ended when Curley’s wife arrives at the door. She begins to talk with Candy and Crooks asking where her husband is and tension begins to grow. They begin to argue and this leads to Curley’s wife yelling and complaining about the predicament she is in. She is stuck in a ranch with just other guys and nobody to talk to but Curley, who ignores her most of the time. She is asked to leave by Candy and Curley’s wife hurls insults at them as a response.
Eventually, Crooks stands up from his bunk and begins to yell back at her and orders her to leave. What happened next can only be described as the fall of Crooks. Curley’s wife goes on a rampage cursing and offending Crooks greatly. (“Listen, Nigger,” she said. “You know what I can do to you if you open your trap? ”… “You know what I can do. ”)(pg 80) Crooks, aware that she could get him killed if he ever tried to badger her again, had no choice but to sink back into his bunk. She yells at him more, hurling terrible comments at him constantly and he can only sit there and doing nothing about it.
After Curley’s wife finally leaves, Crooks asks the other two to leave. His emotions changed drastically from happiness to misery and embarrassment. Chapter 4 is a great example of the discrimination blacks had to deal with during this time around the earlier twentieth century. Crooks, the stable buck house was having one of those days that are just really great and all it took was two other people talking to him. In the blink of an eye, his pride had gone even lower than before after Curley’s wife is through yelling at him. This is the Rise and the Fall of Crooks!