To Dream or Not to Dream
As America began to grow, so did the dreams of those struggling to get by. A majority of Americans dreamt of finding a nice piece of land, building a home, and living on carelessly. This was the American dream. However, there were some that believed this dream was impossible to obtain and despised those who had this dream. In Of Mice and Men, Crooks provides a cynical outlook on life that tears down dreams, which Steinbeck includes to demonstrate reality during this time period.
Crooks has reached his negative viewpoint because of the way he is treated by others. Since Crooks is a colored man, he “ain’t wanted in the bunk house, and [they] ain’t wanted in [his] room” (68). The white workers on the farm have isolated him from the things they do such as their bunk house. This isolation has made Crooks feel as though he must treat everyone else the same way. When people are constantly treated unfairly by others, they begin to think that it is acceptable for them to act the same way. He demonstrates that he believes all white people treat blacks unfairly, as this was the norm during that time period. Crooks decides that it is best for him to “[keep] his distance and [demand] that other people keep theirs” (67). He believes that if he minimizes his contact with others, he can stop them from hurting him. However, this only furthers his isolation as well as his negative judgment because he is not allowing himself to see those who value equal treatment. His cynical outlook is displayed by his failure to give credit to others and treat everyone poorly as a way of getting back at those who hurt him.
Crooks tears down the dreams of others by placing his dark viewpoint upon them as a way of expressing his pain of isolation. As Lennie walks into the barn talking about his dream, he is commanded to “s’pose [George] don’t come back” (72; ch.4). Crooks wants Lennie to think about the possibility of not having George, the only man who can make their...