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Candy said, "That bitch didn't ought to of said that to you."
"It wasn't nothing," Crooks said dully. "You guys comin' in an' settin' made me forget. What she says is true." (4.136-137)
Turns out, there's a little spark left in Crooks, too. He has a vision of America where he can retain a little dignity working for Candy, Lennie, and George—but Curley's wife is happy to step all over his little American Dream, even though hers is just as unattainable.
"Then—it’s all off?" Candy asked sulkily. George didn’t answer his question. George said, "I’ll work my month an’ I’ll take my fifty bucks an’ I’ll stay all night in some lousy cat house. Or I’ll set in some poolroom til ever’body goes home. An’ then I’ll come back an’ work another month an’ I’ll have fifty bucks more." (5.79-80)
At the end of the novel, George isn't any closer to his little slice of the American pie. In fact, he's farther away than ever, looking forward to a life of cat houses and pool rooms. That may be a fourteen-year-old boy's American Dream, but it's no life for a grown man. Unfortunately, it's the only life he knows.
"Yes sir. Jesus, we had fun. They let the nigger come in that night. Little skinner name of Smitty took after the nigger. Done pretty good, too. The guys wouldn't let him use his feet, so the nigger got him. If he coulda used his feet, Smitty says he woulda killed the nigger. The guys said on account of the nigger's got a crooked back, Smitty can't use his feet." He paused in relish of the memory. (2.22)
Yikes. This is hard to read, but—to be fair to Candy—he seems to be "relishing" the fight as a fight, and not just because it involves a crippled black man. (We will point out that he doesn't ever use Crooks's name, however.)