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How do you respond to the presentation of Curley's wife in 'Of Mice and Men'?

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Introduction

How do you respond to the presentation of Curley's wife in `Of Mice and Men'? Curley's wife is presented as quite an ambiguous character. She is seen in two ways: in one way she is seen as `jail bait', a `tart' and `tramp'. In another way she is seen as a victim of a male society, the only female on the farm. Even as a main character in the novel, she remains nameless and only as `Curley's wife'. This makes her sound like Curley's property like Curley's horse or clothes. This is also symbolic of the role of women at the time in which Of Mice and Men was set. Curley's wife is seen as a very promiscuous woman, but that is only because of the picture you build in your mind from the description of her flirtatious attitudes. Before we even meet Curley's wife she is degraded by Candy, the `old swamper'. He accuses her of having "the eye" even though she has been married two weeks: "You know what I think? ... I think Curleys married a tart." ...read more.

Middle

In Steinbeck's words "she had only one thing to sell and she knew it." Curley's wife is portrayed as this `tart' and `jail bait' not purely by accident. This portrayal is purely through the author's actions. The mere fact that she is known only as Curley's wife is a clear sign of her anonymity. She is given no name or in fact no identity. Is this hatred to women on Steinback's part, or is he addressing the stereotypical attitudes towards women? Curley's wife like everybody else has dreams. Curley's wife's dream is to be a star. Curley's wife was asked to go on a show when she was younger, but her mother wouldn't let her. Curley's wife remembers a man in the "pitchers." Said he'd write to her about becoming an actress and being in the movies. Curley's wife says that her mother stole the letter when it came, to stop her from reaching her dream, when it really didn't come at all. "Well I wasn't gonna stay no place where I couldn't get nowhere or make something of myself... so I married Curley" this gives a strong impression that she married Curley purely out of spite, toward her mother. ...read more.

Conclusion

The way in which the author describes the body is the opposite: "She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young." This would suggest an innocent frame of mind, as if her death had transformed her. To someone or something better. Even though Curley's wife is dead, she is still subject to blame. Candy is one of those who feel this way, talking to the lifeless body "You done it, di'n't you? I s'pose you're glad. Everybody knowed you'd mess things up. You wasn't no good. You aint no good now, you lousy tart." When the `guys' find out about her death, I don't think that Curley seems to realise that his wife is dead. He doesn't stop to mourn at all, or hold her one last time, as any self-respecting man would do. He is only interested in one thing, revenge. In conclusion Curley's wife is seen as an ambiguous character. Her moods and mannerisms change throughout the novel. She is presented, as somebody that no one likes not even her own husband. I think this is character is very misunderstood and if anyone was to take the time to get to know her a little better I'm sure Curley's wife could be a very `nice' person. ...read more.

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