Throughout that Crooks has read the civil code many

     Throughout “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck prejudice and its effects are shown between Lennie, a man with a child like persona, and Crooks, a black man who understands the rights he should have. Lennie is naive to his surroundings and uneducated, as is a child, while Crooks is well read “he had books, too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905” (66). The to books being old and falling apart makes it clear that Crooks has read the civil code many times, maticulasy combing through the dictionary for the definitions of various legal terms. The innocence of Lennie is torn when George, his companion, ushers him form Crooks’ room in the barn. Lennie is confused as to why one man cannot be another. Without realizing it he proves that a person is not born with bias, that they are taught it by their surroundings. Prejudice, an unnatural trait learned from the behaviors a character sees, has scarring effects on all in its destructive path.    Crooks, who is well read on the rights he should have, is forced to learn to cope with a life of segregation and abuse. Two books lay in Crooks room, “he had books, too; a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905” (66). The to books being old and falling apart makes it clear that Crooks has read the civil code many times, maticulasy combing through the dictionary for the definitions of various legal terms. His fellow ranch hands constantly, only having him in the bunk house when they are bored and need entertainment; “They let the stable buck come in that night. Little skinner name of Smitty took after him. Done pretty good, too” (20). Because he is seen as inferior and worthless Crooks is symbolizes a punching bag. Not only is he hurt physically but years of mental abuse have left Crooks in a miserable state, mentally. “Crooks sat on his bunk. His shirt was out of his jeans in back. In one hand he held a bottle of liniment, and with the other he rubbed his spin” (67). Liniment is used to take away the physical pain but it symbolizes Crooks trying to take away the mental damage.      Not realizing social norms exist, Lennie cannot comprehend the negative role racism has in creating the atmosphere of his surroundings. While left alone Lennie tries to befriend Crooks, but only one of them understands why it is not socially acceptable. “”Well, what do you want?””Nothing—-I just seen your light”” (68). Lennie is naive, like a child. His being childlike is significant because it points out hate and prejudice are not natural. There are two taught traits that Lennie, an innocent soul, has not learned to have.  Being white, Lennis is included in the bunkhouse happenings. But Crooks is pushed away and disregarded. Understanding the pain that exclusion causes he asks Lennie what it would be like if he was not included: “S’pose you didn’t have nobody. S’pose you couldn’t go into the bunk house and play rummy ’cause you was black” (72). Crooks sees that Lennie is unaware and tries to give him a perspective. This response is significant because it makes Crooks pain clear, he is in need of a companion. Lennie is naive to the fact that he and Crooks can not integrate. “Why ain’t you wanted?” Lennie asked. ” ‘Cause I’m black” (68). Like Crooks’ childhood friends, Lennie has not yet been influenced by a segregated society.          Prejudice has been drilled into Crooks along with the negative side effects while Lennie, an unharmed bystander, learns the consequences of a harsh reality. Crooks was not only physically injured in his back but mentally scarred by hatred:”his eyes layed deep in his head, and because of their depth seemed to glitter with intensity” (67). This symbolizes the need for acceptance within Crooks. Doing nothing wrong, Lennie was sheltered and pushed away from Crooks without understanding why. “What you doin’ in Crooks’ room. You hadn’t ought to be in here” (82). George, who was more there, had been influenced by his upbringing and could not understand that crooks is human, so he ushers lennie away. Lennie was not to represent insanity at all but to articulate the power behind the unity of men. Crooks could not socialize and be one with the rest. Crooks only had work “had his bunk in the harness room; a little shed that leaned off the wall of the barn” (66). He was completely segregated and pushed away from others, with nothing to do other than read and live in his awful existence.