My scruffy notes from the board show the beginning of work on the scene in Crooks’ room. I love this scene:
- It is the only scene centered around Crooks and thus is vital for charting his character progression in 3 conversations.
- It establishes the clear link between solitude, isolation and meanness (George in conversation with Slim in section 3) and ‘sick’ (Crooks own words), thus explaining Crooks’ behaviour to Lennie and Culey’s Wife’s behaviour towards Crooks.
- It allows Lennie to be clearly scene as the structural mechanism by which characters get to reveal their back story.
- It shifts Crooks from the man who ‘knows his rights’ to the man who holds onto his rights ‘even if he don’t like them’.
- It shows Steinbeck’s technique of using setting to define character – those glasses are gold rimmed – value and status and worn only for close examination of Lennie… are we to discern that Crooks does not see clearly all that is around him in a moral sense?
- Crooks’ exploration of the ‘hunderds of men’ whose dreams come and fail could be Steinbeck’s own findings from his time as a ‘bindle stiff’ on these ranches and provides the clearest intertextual link yet with Burns’ mouse.
More to come, but a great lesson today. PDF version below.