Crooks is a clear example of loneliness and the impact it has on someone. As an African American working on a ranch in the 40’s, it’s not easy fitting in or being accepted. Not only is he treated inhumanely, but he is not even allowed in the same bunk. He is the only black man on the ranch, alienation is present as he is excluded because of his skin color. When someone is repeatedly told something is true, they begin to believe it. In Crook’s case it evident that his self worth is not any higher than what others think too. Throughout the novel, Crooks is addressed and identified by his racial slur or his job as the stable buck. Candy told George and Lennie that the boss was expecting them the night before and had given Crooks hell. He explains that this was a repetitive occurrence when the boss was angry. Candy mentions that the stable bunk did not mind, but this is just Candy’s interpretation. The stable buck hides his feeling of loneliness and isolation, covering it up with getting people to think he does not care and does not want to be with them anyways. One night when all of the men went out to town besides Lennie, Lennie is attracted to the light shining in Crook’s room. Without Lennie even stepping foot in Crook’s bunk, Crook’s impulsive reaction is telling him to get out. “You got no right to come in my room. This here’s my room. Nobody got any right in here but me” (Steinbeck68). Crooks has become accustomed to spending all of his nights alone in his own bunk while the rest of the men typically play cards at night together. However, he acknowledges Lennie and realizes that he was genuinely doing no harm. Furthermore, he allowed Lennie in and began a conversation. Because Crook’s isolation has made him bitter, he challenges Lennie asking him where he would go if George didn’t come back, or maybe got hurt. Lennie explains that George would never leave him, they travel together, and George is smart and he would not get hurt. At this point in the conversation, Crooks opens up to Lennie, “Maybe you see now you got George. You knew he’s goin to come back. S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ‘cause you was black. How’d you like that? S’pose you had to sit out here an’ read books. Sure you could play horse shoes till it got dark, but then you got to read books. Books ain’t no good. A guy needs somebody--to be near him” (Steinbeck72). Crooks did envy the relationship and bond that George and Lennie have together. He fantasizes about living in contentment and freedom, but a life of ease would never exist. Not only did others see him different than all of the men, he has no worth in himself. After Curly’s wife, yells and threatens him, he then “reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego-- nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and his voice was toneless” (Steinbeck81). Crook’s loneliness is a mix of the isolation of being an African American and the struggle of self worth he faced.
The Great Depression, which took place in the 1930’s was a time period of hardship for everyone. As two small displaced migrant workers, they are prevented to live the life they desire. The Great Depression affects all aspects of living greatly and loneliness is evident as people have no choice but to live individual and