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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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Are you noticing what has happened to Crooks' personality and sense of isolation since Lennie has entered his room? Crooks' world seems to be changing for the better. Lennie is like that. He seems to suspend the loneliness of those he comes in contact with.

The Candy who enters Crooks' room is also a different person from the man we saw in earlier chapters. He seems more self-assured and important. Like a businessman, he discusses profits to be gained from raising the rabbits. He becomes really emotional when Crooks mentions his doubts about the farm dream ever coming true. "But we gonna do it now, and don't you make no mistake about that," Candy cries.

Crooks is so impressed by this new Candy that he asks to join them as well. He will work for no pay, just his keep. "I ain't so crippled I can't work like a son-of-a-bitch if I want to," he says. The vision seems to have given new manhood to another misfit in the ranch microcosm.



Curley's wife, the last of the outcasts on the ranch, enters the room next. She announces, accurately, "They left all the weak ones here." The atmosphere in the room quickly changes. Curley's wife is clearly a threat to all of them, even though Lennie is too dumb or love-struck to realize how vulnerable he is. Candy and Crooks try to put her down, but she knows she has the upper hand. It has been a long time since she has been in such a position of power, and she won't give it up easily.

Look at what happens to the three men when Curley's wife confronts them. Candy and Crooks try to act brave but fail. (They become mice instead of men.) Candy begins to mumble again. And, according to Steinbeck, "Crooks had retired into the terrible protective dignity of the Negro.... He had reduced himself to nothing."

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Barron's Booknotes-Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
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