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Curleys Wife of Mice and Men Essay

To begin with, in the novel Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife is a disadvantaged character who relates to the themes dreams and loneliness. She is important in the novel because she portrays the stereotypical 1930’s women in America and she is the only women in the novel. Steinbeck presents her negatively but by the end of the novel the reader feels sympathetic towards her. Curley’s wife is first introduced in section two; ‘both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off.

A girl was standing there looking in’. Sunshine relates to hopes, happiness and freedom, which most of the ranch workers seek. Steinbeck foreshadows she will ruin this by using ‘cut off’ which shows she will be the reason why the ranch workers dreams will be ruined, which she is. She seduces Lennie resulting in her death, which means the characters Lennie George and candy cannot fulfil their dream because everybody wants to kill Lennie. This shows the reader she is a troublesome character.

She is described as a girl rather than a lady due to the fact she is playful and flirty like a girl. Steinbeck shows she is looking in because she is searching for something. Attention. This also shows she is an outsider because she’s not involved, just merely lonely on the outside, desperately wanting to be involved. Steinbeck describes Curley’s wife as a tart by using ‘she had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up’. The phrase ‘rouged lips’ shows she has intentionally made her lips bold so the other ranch workers will notice this.

The colour relates to danger which foreshadows that she is a dangerous character because Lennie got into trouble because of a girl in weed with a red dress and Curley’s wife eventually gets Lennie killed. Red is a seductive colour and she seduces Lennie. Steinbeck uses ‘heavily made up’ to show she has made an effort to be noticed which automatically makes the reader sense she is a sexually seductive character. Steinbeck shows she is out of place because a stereotypical woman on a ranch would be messy but Curley’s wife tries to be perfect.

It also shows she has made herself pretty to impress someone. Furthermore, Steinbeck refers to her as ‘she’ because she has not got a name. Steinbeck has done this to show her status in society was not important enough in 1930’s America to be called by her name. No-one knows it and no-one cares what it is either. In 1930’s America, women were looked down on and did not have the same rights as men did, although they had more rights than black people. Steinbeck uses ‘curley’s wife’ to show she is the property of Curley; the apostrophe shows she is the possession of Curley.

This makes the reader feel negative feelings towards her due to the fact she has a husband yet flirts with the other men. The next time Curley’s wife is introduced is in section four; she is looking for attention. ‘They swung their heads towards the door. Looking in was Curley’s wife’. Steinbeck portrays the theme loneliness because once again, she is on the outside ‘looking in’. She is desperate to talk to someone. Curley is at the cathouse which gives her the chance to get out of the house because Curley makes her stay in the house all day.

When she does escape from the house to find someone to talk to, her familiar excuse is she’s looking for Curley. The other workers aren’t fooled and try avoiding her; they misinterpret her loneliness for being troublesome and flirty. At this point the reader still feels negatively towards her. Curley’s wife appears in Crook’s room although candy and crook’s resent her unwanted presence. This makes her feel intimidated after she is told by a black man to get out. ‘I can get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny’.


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