Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men Chapter 4 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph) Though Steinbeck did not originally include chapter numbers with the text, most editions are broken into six sections, based on day and time of day: Thursday evening = Chapter 1; Friday day = Chapter 2; Friday evening = Chapter 3; Saturday night = Chapter 4; Sunday afternoon = Chapter 5; Sunday evening = Chapter 6.
"…You go on get outta my room. I ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and you ain’t wanted in my room."
"Why ain’t you wanted?" Lennie asked.
"’Cause I’m black…" (4.10-11)
Lennie can’t fathom racial prejudice. We’ve already seen he doesn’t have a lot of the societal niceties down (like when to pet girls and when not to pet girls), but it’s actually pretty interesting that Lennie doesn’t think of Crooks as being different from himself. Remember, Lennie is more in touch with the natural side of things than the "civilized" side of things, so he doesn’t accept the "institution" of racism.
Candy leaned against the wall beside the broken collar while he scratched his wrist stump. "I been here a long time," he said. "An' Crooks been here a long time. This's the first time I ever been in his room."
Crooks said darkly, "Guys don't come into a colored man's room very much." (4.76-77)
Prejudice works both ways: Crooks may be isolated because of his skin color, but the white guys might also be missing out on a good friend. (And, we have to ask: do you think Steinbeck is making a point by having the black man speak "darkly"? Too much of a stretch?)
She turned on him in scorn. "Listen, Nigger," she said. "You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?"
Crooks stared hopelessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself. (4.116-117)
The only thing worse than being a woman on the ranch is being a black man. But Curley's wife doesn't feel any solidarity with Crooks: she just sees him as the one guy she can pick on instead of try to pick up.