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Compare the experiences of Gertrude Lodge in "The Withered Arm" with those of Curley's wife in "Of Mice And men"

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Introduction

Compare the experiences of Gertrude Lodge in "The Withered Arm" with those of Curley's wife in "Of Mice And men" The novel "Of Mice And Men" is based in 1930's America, during the time of the great depression. It is set in a small town called Soledad, in southern California, where life is harsh, and migrant workers play a common part in society. On the ranch, women are thought of as nothing more than sexual objects, and being the only female, Curley's wife finds it particularly hard when searching for acceptance and respect from the men. Life is also extremely lonely on the ranch; as most of the men travel without a companion, and like Curley's wife, find it difficult when relating to others. The majority of their time is spent undertaking manual labour, and that of what they earn is spent gambling, drinking and visiting brothels for entertainment. We first learn of Curley's wife through gossip from a fellow labourer, Candy, who perceives her as a "tart" and implies she is indecent, by stating that she has "got the eye" for other men. Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm" is set during the years 1819-1825, in the small village of Holmstoke, Wessex. ...read more.

Middle

However, he tends not to use such crude methods when advertising certain aspects of their relationship, and finds it unnecessary to discuss issues of a more sexual nature in public. Curley's wife's dream of becoming an actress, started at a reasonably young age, and despite her mother's disapproval on the matter, she has continued into adulthood with the hope of still escaping from everything that is known to her, and making something more of herself. We first learn of this dream, during her discussion with Lennie, when she admits to having met a young man, involved in film production, who promised to get her a job in his line of business. But, after guaranteeing to send her a letter in further discussion to acting, he failed to do so, leaving her with no option other than to marry Curley, and start a new life. The fact that Curley's wife believed what the young actor had promised, proves further her naivety in this situation, as he was most likely using it simply as a way of getting what he wanted from her, and therefore had no intention of following through what he had claimed. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, both writer's use similar methods when bringing the character's lives to an end, although their deaths are brought on by their own doing, the author's use methods such as calm, soft language "pretty", "sweet" as a way of creating a sense of sympathy for the character. In my response to the characters, I feel that both Curley's wife and Gertrude Lodge are very similar characters, in the sense that they are both victims of prejudice within their separate communities, which consequently leads to them acting the way they do. In Curley's wife's case, it is her continuous need for attention and the fact that she never receives any, that makes her feel she has something to live up to. Whilst, Gertrude has never been faced with such a problem before, and finds it particularly hard when dealing with her disfigurement, to the extent that she tries every option possible so as to not let it take over her life. This can also be seen when she tries to cover her arm, in the hope that no-one will notice. And although a sense of sympathy was felt for both character's in their departure, I felt this more when reading "Of Mice And Men" as it was Curley's wife's sheer vanity that inevitably caused her death. ...read more.

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