Alternatively, Mally wasn’t described with any feminine attractions like Curley’s wife. The young men didn’t care about Mally because she didn’t make an effort to dress or care about the way she looked. Unlike Curley’s wife, Mally wasn’t married and she only lived with her grandfather. This meant that she wasn’t in possession of any other man, and so they could talk to her, but still Mally hadn’t any friends.
As the reader is clearly able to recognise, Trollope seems to compare heavy responsibilities with more of a masculine tone trying to indicate Mally worked so hard. Traditionally it was a man’s duty to do the hard work therefore, Mally is characterised with less feminine qualities. Curley’s wife was the total opposite of this; she never worked on the ranch and so Steinbeck has characterised her with the feminine attractions Mally doesn’t have.
It would have been lonely for both the characters because there were no women to socialise and talk with. Curley’s wife told Lennie, “I get lonely.” There was no doubt about it, it was a fact because she said it herself. Mally on the other hand didn’t express her loneliness. She doesn’t mention if she was lonely when she was younger neither if she had any ambitions. At the time the novel was written, she only lived with her grandfather. Mally would have felt lonely because she had no one of her own age to talk to, but she did have her grandfather to keep her company.
I think the reason Mally was so kind to her grandfather and lived with him was because he was an old man with bad health and if she left him, he’d be unable to cope and would become lonely on his own. Living with her grandfather showed how thoughtful and unselfish Mally was. Unlike Mally, Curley’s wife mentions her past life a lot to Lennie. She tells Lennie, “I tell you I ain’t used to this livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.” She expresses how lonely she is, and how marrying Curley has ruined her dreams.
Curley’s wife’s had the men on the ranch to talk to, but they kept their distance from her because she was Curley’s possession. When she was alone in the barn with Lennie, she told him how she felt about Curley, “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella,” she said. This was the first time she was telling anyone how she felt, probably because nobody else would stop and listen. I think that Curley’s wife is the loneliest character in Of Mice and Men, not even her own husband cares for her.
She hasn’t been Curley’s wife that long and already hates life on the ranch. She’s also the only woman on the ranch. “Ain’t I got a right to talk to nobody?” she rhetorically questioned, for she already knew Curley had forbidden her from speaking to any other man. Unfortunately, loneliness ends the life of Curley’s wife when she’s alone in the barn with Lennie and tries to make a friend. Steinbeck doesn’t view her death as a tragedy, he says, ” the meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face.” He tries to show that Curley’s wife has actually gone to a better place and she is now in peace.
Steinbeck cleverly used light and dark as part of his literary technique when Curley’s wife arrived on scene; when she dies he uses the same type of language, but instead of using darkness he describes her death as light. “The sun streaks were high on the wall by now, and the light was growing soft in the barn.” Again, Steinbeck tries to show the reader that Curley’s wife dying was a good thing because she would no longer be unhappy, and without her it seemed as though the other men had a hope for a brighter future.
Throughout the book, Curley’s wife has been playing the role of a character that is trouble and fails to care about anybody else, but the impression of her changes in chapter five when she’s talking to Lennie. For the first time when she’s speaking alone with someone, she seems to be more compassionate and caring. She tells him, ” don’t you worry about talkin’ to me” and it seemed as though she cared for Lennie. The reader is made aware of this different side to her when she was talking with Lennie, while the other characters in Of Mice and Men failed to realise how kind Curley’s wife could be because they never gave her a chance.
Mally too was a compassionate women. All the people knew how caring and trustworthy she was to her grandfather. She cared for him dearly, and when the Camelford attorney took Mally’s money but couldn’t do anything for her, she was heart was broken. One big similarity between Mally and Curley’s wife was; even though they didn’t like the people around them (visa versa), they still had a loving heart inside. For instance, when Mally’s granddad thought Barty Gunliffe (the farmer’s son) had died, Mally never lost hope, and still tried to find help; ” had it been her brother, her lover, her father, she could not have clung to him with more of the energy despair.” Mally used to despised Barty before but yet she was trying to save his life.
The author’s use of various writing techniques to describe their main female characters illustrates the character’s difficult situations. Both Steinbeck and Trollope effectively describe their characters in such a way that in their everyday lives, Mally and Curley’s wife led two very different lives. Curley’s wife living in the very traditional way of belonging to her husband and being a distraction to the men and Mally taking on a traditionally male role of taking on all the responsibilities. However, with a deeper look into both characters, I am able to see that both women share a sad and lonely life but even though they do, they can both be both really caring and compassionate. It seems as though both characters need a meaning to their lives because they are so lonely. This suggests to me, that there’s a greater similarity between the two characters than their outward appearances would suggest.