Of Mice and Men’ was published in 1937. The story highlights the level of sexism still being demonstrated at this time in America, despite various laws being changed. The way that some of the characters treat Curley’s Wife proves this point: “Don’t even look at that bitch. ” George talks about Curley’s Wife showing her little regard. This may tell a reader that along with him having a lack of respect for her because she is a woman; he’s also worried about Lennie getting into bother with her because of his previous experiences with women.
Like the time in Weed when he wouldn’t let go of a girl’s soft dress and scared her so much that she “… tells the law she been raped. ” He wasn’t just fearful of women on behalf of Lennie; he could see from the minute he laid eyes on her that she was bad news. In this passage, Curley’s wife is portrayed as a flirtatious trouble maker. The reader knows this by the way she behaves when we first meet her. “She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the doorframe so that her body was thrown forward.
” This is an example of Curley’s Wife moving her body in a suggestive manor, telling the reader that she’s a woman with loose morals. Also in this extract is the possible use of foreshadowing. This is when she brings darkness to the bunk house the moment we meet her: “Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. ” This may be Steinbeck’s way of warning us of the danger and destruction that she brings later on in the novel. Curley’s Wife is a “tart” and may well be “jail bait” in the eyes of the farm hands, but she is never really evil.
Her punishment outweighs any crimes she may have committed. Curley’s Wife has married Curley to give her a home and status in life, it is clear that her relationship with Curley is not harmonious and it lacks the love and attention she so desperately craves. “Well I wasn’t gonna stay no place where I couldn’t get nowhere or make something of myself… So I married Curley. ” Women had very few options during this particular era and an unfulfilling marriage was considerably better than the alternatives. “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella. ”
The fact that the character of Curley’s Wife doesn’t have a real name in the story might be the use of writer’s craft. It’s likely that Steinbeck has referred to her as ‘Curley’s Wife’ to inform the reader that women at the time were seen as second class citizens and were shown little respect in 1930’s America. George’s reaction when they first meet also says a lot: “Jesus what a tramp. ” Not only does this prove how badly she comes across in this extract from the book, but also backs up my point; women were seen as inferior. Like many people in 1930’s America, Curley’s Wife had a dream.
Her dream was to be a Hollywood movie star: “He says he was gonna put me in the moves. Says I was a natural. ” It was common for average Americans at the time to dream of living the high life in Hollywood. Many farm workers also dreamt of making a success of themselves and leaving their lives as slave drivers, like George and Lennie did: “Someday-we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and-“ George and Lennie’s dream wouldn’t have been uncommon in farm hands at the time.