Curley’s Wife Essay
Curley’s wife presented in a complicated way.. She is ambiguous in some sense. Dangerous: ‘both men glanced up for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. ’ ‘She had full rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. ’ Red, foreshadowing danger. Vulnerable: ‘heavily made up. ’ Insecure. Hiding domestic violence. Mysterious. Outlet for feelings, only thing she has control over. Wants attention because she is neglected by Curley. ‘I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella. ’ She is a possession to Curley.
She puts her hands behind her back leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forwards. ’ She is acting provocatively towards George and Lennie because she thinks that she can het their attention that she is lacking from her marriage. She closes off after she gets some attention from people especially Lennie because this is not what she wanted. She ‘looks at her fingernails’ which shows that she is not interested. She is commented in a derogatory way by the men. Steinbeck wants to teach people that we shouldn’t judge women.
They think that she is immature and irresponsible. She is presented as spiteful and ungrateful in the middle of the novella by the way she treated other minor characters such as the black guy. ‘A bunch of bindlestiffs-a nigger an’ a dum-dum and lousy ol’ sheep. She is annoyed at how she is being treated by the other minor characters which lead her to this outbreak. She is worked up because she discriminates crooks by what she immediately sees. She repeats ‘and’ and this fractures her sentences. Curley’s neglected lead to her ability to act rational being affected.
Exasperated and anguished by her own self because she likes talking to people. Women were treated worse than lowly ranch workers. Desperate and lonely way. Also relies on the American dream because she goes on multiple times about her dream to be a singer. She likes to be in the spotlight. Tumbled suggests that she is overwhelmed at the attention she is receiving from Lennie. Flowing out, hurried for her story to be heard. Afraid of Lennie neglecting her like Curley did. Curley’s wife is demanding and childish. She has restrictions from her husband.
Acting like a child and questioning why. Confiding in Lennie because he has a low IQ level which means that he cannot tell everyone her secrets, hopes and dreams. When she dies she is presented in an innocent way. Her hair looks like a halo around her head. And she looks like an angel. This could suggest that people were recognised as important after they have died not when they are alive. Vulnerable because she is stripped of her make up. She has finally found peace and her pain was gone from her face. Makes us feel guilty about our assumptions on her.
She questions people to start off a conversation; it is also a way to show that she wants answers. She is also insecure about who she can trust so she questions them to see if they are telling the truth. However, she will get defensive in the middle of the conversation when they have lied to her. Therefore, she uses sentences that do not make sense and exclamations. Juxtapositions in a paragraph could represent Curley’s wife’s ambiguous nature and her complex characteristics. Of Mice and Men is not kind in its portrayal of women.
In fact, women are treated with contempt throughout the course of the book. Steinbeck generally depicts women as troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. Curley’s wife, who walks the ranch as a temptress, seems to be a prime example of this destructive tendency—Curley’s already bad temper has only worsened since their wedding. Aside from wearisome wives, Of Mice and Men offers limited, rather misogynistic, descriptions of women who are either dead maternal figures or prostitutes. Despite Steinbeck’s rendering, Curley’s wife emerges as a relatively complex and interesting character.
Although her purpose is rather simple in the book’s opening pages—she is the “tramp,” “tart,” and “bitch” that threatens to destroy male happiness and longevity—her appearances later in the novella become more complex. When she confronts Lennie, Candy, and Crooks in the stable, she admits to feeling a kind of shameless dissatisfaction with her life. Her vulnerability at this moment and later—when she admits to Lennie her dream of becoming a movie star—makes her utterly human and much more interesting than the stereotypical vixen in fancy red shoes. However, it also reinforces the novella’s grim worldview.
In her moment of greatest vulnerability, Curley’s wife seeks out even greater weaknesses in others, preying upon Lennie’s mental handicap, Candy’s debilitating age, and the color of Crooks’s skin in order to steel herself against harm. Women had a profound sense of loneliness and they desire a friend or a companion. However, women like Curley’s wife will settle for an attentive ear from a stranger. Women were often unhappily married to help escape from the great depression in the USA. They were rendered helpless by their isolation and even at their weakest will seek to destroy those who were weaker.
Oppression does not come from those who are strong or powerful but those who are also suffering. Strength is born from those who are weak and at their weakest. The American dream is impossible especially at the time of when of mice and men were set because this was the time of the great depression and the dust bowl where farmers were out of work and suffering. Therefore, Curley’s wife abandons her American dream and marries Curley for financial security. Women are not referred to by their names but by a pronoun. It shows that they are seen as mere possessions and not even real human beings.
They are insignificant and inferior to others therefore they have no name. Curley’s wife is not given a name to represent the status of women in the 1930s. They were ranked as low as Black people such as crooks who is also not given a name. Alternative: Portrayal of women in of mice and men is unflattering and limited from the point of view of men. Women don’t have a place in the author’s vision of the world which was surrounded by bonds of men. Women are unimportant, thus they are portrayed in a negative light. Steinbeck: He was a feminist who helped raise the profile of women and their role in the 1930s.
He also disagreed with the way women were treated because in the end he reveals the true nature of her and how she was not a bad person all along. He has also made Curley’s wife a complex character to teach readers of the 1930s that women also had feelings and were also as complex as the men. It also makes her not seem like a one dimensional character. The book only assigns women with two lowly roles of housewives or prostitutes. Female sexuality is a trap to ensnare men and ruin their lives. Temptation to men that will lead them to their fall from perfection.
For example, George and Lennie who had their lives ruined by Curley’s wife. All characters are nearly all disempowered by Curley’s wife who discriminates the men by their race, intelligence and age. When Curley’s wife speaks to Lennie, the reader is afraid for Lennie because they can sense something bad will happen. Curley’s wife is depicted in a different way when she is speaking to Lennie because before she was easily dismissed as a flirt with a temper and a manipulator. However, in the final moments before her death, Steinbeck presents his sole female character sympathetically.
Her loneliness becomes the focus of this scene, as she admits that she too has an idea of paradise that circumstances have denied her. Curley’s wife seems to sense, like Crooks (who notes earlier that Lennie is a good man to talk to), that because Lennie doesn’t understand things, a person can say almost anything to him. She confesses her unhappiness in her marriage, her lonely life, and her broken dreams in “a passion of communication. ” Unfortunately, she fails to see the danger in Lennie, and her attempt to console him for the loss of his puppy by letting him stroke her hair leads to her tragic death.
One might take issue with Steinbeck’s description of her corpse, for only in her death does he grant her any semblance of virtue. Once she lies lifeless on the hay, Steinbeck writes that all the marks of an unhappy life have disappeared from her face, leaving her looking “pretty and simple . . . sweet and young. ” The story has spent considerable time maligning women, and much has been made of their troublesome and seductive natures. It is disturbing, then, that Steinbeck seems to subtly imply that the only way for a woman to overcome that nature and restore her lost innocence is through death.
Because Curley’s wife cannot bare her lonely soul to the men around her, the men persist in believing she is merely a “lousy tart. ” This is due to misinterpretations by other characters. Her unattainable dreams make he seem human and the writer reiterates this through the innocence of her face in the time of her death. In sharing his vision of what it means to be human, Steinbeck touches on several themes: the nature of dreams, the nature of loneliness, man’s propensity for cruelty, powerlessness and economic injustices, and the uncertainty of the future.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 November 2016
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