He is the only permanent employee at the ranch, since he injured his back in an accident. His back gives him constant pain.
He is the only black man around and is made to be isolated by his colour - he can't go into the bunk-house or socialise with the men.
He is always called the 'nigger' by the men, which shows how racism is taken for granted. The men don't mean to insult Crooks every time they call him this, but they never think to use his name
All this has made him proud and aloof.
He is lonely.
"S'pose you didn't have nobody. S'pose you couldn't go into the bunk house and play rummy 'cause you were black... A guy needs somebody - to be near him... I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."
The only time he mixes with the ranch hands socially is when they pitch horseshoes - and then he beats everyone!
He has his own room near the stables and has a few possessions. He has books, which show he is intelligent and an old copy of the California Civil Code, which suggests he is concerned about his rights.
He has seen many men come and go, all dreaming of buying a piece of land, but is now cynical, as no one has ever achieved it.
Candy is the oldest ranch hand. He lost his right hand in an accident at work.
He is the 'swamper' - the man who cleans the bunkhouse. He knows he will be thrown out and put 'on the county' when he is too old to work.
Because of this, he accepts what goes on and doesn't challenge anything: he