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Does Steinbeck condemn Curley's wife, or does he sympathise with her?

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Introduction

Does Steinbeck condemn Curley's wife, or does he sympathise with her? Throughout the 1930's in California, where and when the novel "of mice and men" was set, women were frequently suppressed and treated as objects. They were put down and often abused. They were forced to do anything their husband says otherwise they were condemned by the family and general public. Several of these issues are reflected in the character of Curly's wife. This character is portrayed in many different ways in the different stages of her life. This character is nameless and is only ever referred to as 'Curley's wife'. I think this may mean that she is not a major part and as a woman is thought of as insignificant and maybe Steinbeck feels that it is not necessary to name her as it was viewed at the time as she does not need or deserve one. ...read more.

Middle

However, later in the book, her death is depicted very differently. She is to be seen lying with a half covering of yellow hay with all the emotions drawn from her face leaving a young, pretty, simple woman with no hate or anguish. She is shown as looking in a very light sleeping looking very much alive "Now her rouged cheeks and her reddened lips made her seem alive and lightly sleeping." She is portrayed so innocently that it is as though the writer has every bit of sympathy for her. So, despite the condemnation of Curly's wife in chapters previously, in chapter five, Steinbeck appears to gradually sympathise with her. At first he makes her seem like an outcast by showing that nobody wants to talk to her but gradually she reveals her story to explain why she is in that situation to gain sympathy. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, many form a negative opinion of her due to threatening Crooks, acting like a `"tart" and not being greatful for what she has got so her death is not shown as the great tragedy that it is. To conclude, I feel in life Steinbeck condemns Curley's wife through her life, however in the lead up to her "murder" and in death the mood changes and dramatically sympathises with her by displaying the hardships of her life and showing how misunderstood it is. I feel Steineck could be seen as being sexist and unfair to her. However, it may be viewed as him trying to make a point about the sexist issues going on t the time to widen awareness to help improve the situation by showing that you will never really appreciate someone until they are dead. ...read more.

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