The few liberties he has, he will fight to keep.
He is given a room that is all his own and he will state flatly that no one has a right to go in there besides him. He says it it because he has no right to go into the bunkhouse, they hands have no right to go into his space, but that is not the real reason. He is allowed to argue for that right because few white men on the ranch would risk the blow to their prestige to be caught in the room of a black man.
This gives Crooks the edge to chase people out. Crooks looks for an edge over other people. He constantly looks to gain an advantage that society denies him. He chases Lennie from his room until he sees that Lennie can offer him a kind of company he lacks and later Crooks sees that Lennie will offer him the advantage to cause Lennie pain. Not used to having the upper hand, Crooks attempts to torture Lennie by suggesting that George may abandon him. Crooks quickly realizes his mistake when he sees the latent violence of an aroused and frightened giant moving toward him. Crooks placates Lennie just in time and is noticeably relieved.
Later Crooks tries to chase Curley's wife out of his room but she knows her trump card. She is a white woman and the wife of a violent man in a violent world. While her status would suffer severely if she were caught in a black man's room, the honor of Curley would demand that she be turned into a victim and Crooks would be the evidence that would have to be destroyed. She knows this and lets Crooks know he could be lynched in a moment's notice.
There is no answer to this and Crooks knows it. Ultimately, on this ranch he has no power and could be killed because of the lie of a vengeful woman. This is why Crooks folds into himself, loses his ego, his "self," so that there is nothing that anyone can do to hurt him. Slim has always been my favorite character in the novel until this year. In discussion with students it seems that really there is very little to Slim.
Of Mice and Men : Shmoop Literature Guide by Shmoop Staff (2010, E-book)
Zach G. Without the quiet understanding of Slim, there is no other character in the novel for George to reveal himself to. Slim's role is to accept the two men and the relationship they have. Slim has the quiet power and the status to make the bond between George and Lennie acceptable on the ranch. Without Slim, the movements of George and Lennie might come under a cynical cloud of suspicion. Was George really taking advantage of Lennie? Without the conversation between Slim and George there is doubt.
After the conversation, the is no doubt. Slim has the silent power and the status to offer a benediction on George and Lennie that the other men will accept. But if this is the case, Slim in not very complicated. His character is a tool, an object. It is a functionary of the writer.
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