Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chapter 4 Summary (pages 66-83)

Crooks relaxes in a separate bunk, since he’s not allowed to reside in the same quarters as the white farm hands. His room is sparse but neat. When Lennie stops in for a visit, Crooks initially reacts with irritation but eventually warms up to Lennie and invites him in to sit and talk. Crooks reveals his family history—that he was born in California and that he’s used to being the only “colored man” around. Lennie ignores Crooks’ back story, continually redirecting the conversation to Slim’s new pups. Crooks asks Lennie what he’d do if George left him, but Lennie assures Slim that George would never leave him. Crooks comments that you never know what a guy might do. When Lennie relays their dream of owning their own land to Crooks, Crooks laughs and recalls the dozens of men he’s seen come through with the same never-fulfilled dream.

Candy arrives at Crooks’ door, looking for Lennie, and reluctantly accepts Crooks’ invitation to enter. When the conversation reverts to talk of owning their own ranch, Crooks again denies that their plan will ever materialize, but Candy insists that it will. Crooks reminds the men that George is in town at the moment spending his money at Old Susy’s whorehouse, but when Candy explains that he’s already got some savings he can put towards the venture, Crooks expresses an interest in helping out at their ranch. Curley’s wife appears, asking the men if they’ve seen Curley. Although Crooks and Candy avoid engaging with her, Lennie appears enthralled by her presence. When Crooks suggests she go on her way, Curley’s wife begins to describe how lonely and miserable her life is at home with Curley. Before she leaves she inquires about the bruises on Lennie’s face and threatens Crooks’ life when he scolds her for entering his room without permission.

George returns from town and reprimands Lennie for hanging out with Crooks. On their way out, Crooks tells Candy to never mind his talk about lending a hand on their ranch. After the white men leave, Crooks is once again alone, rubbing ointment on his crooked back before turning in for the night.

Contents