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Comparison of Curleys wife from "Of Mice and Men" by Steinbeck, and Sophie from Hardy's "The Sons Veto".

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Introduction

Comparison of Curleys wife from "Of Mice and Men" by Steinbeck, and Sophie from Hardy's "The Sons Veto" The Sons' Veto by Thomas Hardy is a pre 20th century short story set in rural Wessex in England. It tracks the life of a young servant girl named Sophie, who despite the enormous social void, marries a reverend and becomes a lady, and her struggle to settle into her new found social status. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck takes place in the early 1930's on a ranch in California. The focus of the story is on two characters, Lennie and George, however Curley's wife is an important character who has a vital role in the fatal ending of the plot. Both Sophie and Curley's wife are undoubtedly pretty in their own way, and both spend a lot of time on their appearance to compensate for what they feel they lack. For Curley's wife this is her personality, "Her face was made up and the sausage curls were all in place." And in Sophie's case her intelligence and lack of education "wasted hours braiding her beautiful hair" Dialogue is important in both the stories, and the sound of a character's voice can portray a lot about their personality. ...read more.

Middle

Hardy uses this scenario so that readers will empathise with his view that men at the time were allowed to dominate over women. Although Sophie is Randolph's mother she still feels obliged to respect his wish that she does not marry Sam. This is due to the attitudes of the period, for it was expected that women should obey men as, supposedly 'they knew best'. Even though it is clear that Sophie is far more mature than her son despite her lack of education, which is shown by the fact that he throws a tantrum and locks himself in his room, she is still forced to abide by his decision. Also Hardy shows some repugnance for the Clerical profession, because as a priest Randolph should guide people towards what is right in the eyes of God instead of which he acts as if he is God. Also he should be humane and compassionate whereas in fact he is anything but compassionate as the only person he looks after is himself. Curley's wife is lonely although she has many people around her " I can't talk to no-one" this is partly because she is a woman and has no other women to talk to and also because she is forbidden from talking to the men on the farm. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sophie kept all her troubles and unhappiness inside "Why mayn't I marry Sam she murmured when no-one was near," which demonstrates that she was a women of great pride and self respect, as she doesn't want anyone else to know. Unlike her, Curley's wife tells anyone who will listen about her problems and how Curley mistreats her "Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody!" This illustrates her desperate need to be loved; she has no honour and no wish to conceal her inner feelings. Lastly the emotions which follow the pairs death are totally different. Sophies' death leads to great sadness and mourning "eyes were wet". The death of Curley's wife on the other hand leads to feelings of contempt, anger, and bitterness. This is partly because of the fact that she was murdered whereas Sophie died naturally, and partly because of culture and attitudes of the era that the book is set in, which shows the social and historical context of the story. Hardy's book which is written pre 1900 displays a lot of concealed emotions, as would have been socially acceptable in this era. Whereas Steinbeck's book has many brash characters who evoke much emotion, this would have been standard in 1930's California. ...read more.

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