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Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck
Quotes Important Quotations Explained
Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 3

A guy sets alone out here at night, maybe readin’ books or thinkin’ or stuff like that. Sometimes he gets thinkin’, an’ he got nothing to tell him what’s so an’ what ain’t so. Maybe if he sees somethin’, he don’t know whether it’s right or not. He can’t turn to some other guy and ast him if he sees it too. He can’t tell. He got nothing to measure by. I seen things out here. I wasn’t drunk. I don’t know if I was asleep. If some guy was with me, he could tell me I was asleep, an’ then it would be all right. But I jus’ don’t know.

Crooks speaks these words to Lennie in Section 4, on the night that Lennie visits Crooks in his room. The old stable-hand admits to the very loneliness that George describes in the opening pages of the novella. As a black man with a physical handicap, Crooks is forced to live on the periphery of ranch life. He is not even allowed to enter the white men’s bunkhouse, or join them in a game of cards. His resentment typically comes out through his bitter, caustic wit, but in this passage he displays a sad, touching vulnerability. Crooks’s desire for a friend by whom to “measure” things echoes George’s earlier description of the life of a migrant worker. Because these men feel such loneliness, it is not surprising that the promise of a farm of their own and a life filled with strong, brotherly bonds holds such allure.