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Crooks is trying to think of his rights. At the time Crooks has no rights; Crooks has nothing. Crooks most likely is uneducated and this shows that he is both learning to read and understand the race laws of his state. Crooks is hoping for a better time where he has rights and is not issolated and lonely. Also, this certainly shows that Crooks is intelligent and despite his despondence, he has initiative to learn something.