• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How is Curleys wife presented and developed throughout the novel?

Extracts from this document...


How is Curley's wife presented and developed throughout the novel? Curley's wife is an example of how our perception of a character can change without the character actually changing. She is portrayed as both a villain and victim throughout the course of the novel. Despite Steinbeck's rendering she emerges as a relatively complex and intricate character who through the course of the novel, our feelings become sympathetic towards. Throughout the novel she is shown in different lights, as from section 2 to section 5 in the novel, her character evolves and her sweeter and more vulnerable side is shown in contrast to her first appearance which portrays her as imposing and a trouble maker. Throughout the course of the novel, it appears women are treated with contempt and Steinbeck generally depicts women as trouble-makers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. Aside from wearisome wives "Of Mice and Men" offers limited rather misogynistic descriptions of women who are either dead, maternal figures or prostitutes. We first hear about Curley's wife when Candy describes her to George. He describes her using expressions such as "she got the eye" and "tart". ...read more.


This particular section portrays her as petty and cruel and as a desperate captive of ranch living. Curley's wife understands the innate competitive urge for possessing women which tears men apart, and she knows that she is cast as a villain in this eternal game of one-upmanship. In "Of Mice and Men" she is especially comparable to Crooks; both are obviously intelligent and perceptive of themselves as well as others, and both contain a deep bitterness stemming from their mistreatment. Both contain a bleak and accurate insight of the fundamental nastiness of people and they are discriminated and isolated, one because she is a woman and one because of the colour of his skin. Ultimately though, it appears as though she is frightened of her husband as she sneaks off to her house (her patriarchal prison). It appears Curley's wife has been trapped by life and however brazen and manipulative she may be, in the novel she is a comparatively powerless figure in the novel and is perhaps an object of the readers' sympathy, as she has no friends, no future, no respect and is trapped in a stifling and unhappy marriage as well as being marginalized and oppressed by her husband. ...read more.


having never reached her full potential, and it appears no friends or her husband is going to mourn her death to the extreme. Although she is the catalyst of the last sections and the reason for Lennie's death and her own death, we feel empathetic towards her as she died due to a desire for human contact and friendship. Her death signifies the death not just of her dreams but of other important characters in the book whose dreams are also ultimately broken and this lingers in the mind of the reader, long after the novel is read. Overall she is first shown as a negative character and a villain and towards the end her positive features are gradually revealed and she becomes more a victim than a villain. It is a credit to Steinbeck that he is able to reveal the complexity of all humans in his depiction of Curley wife and draw us in right up to the very last page where the story ends in even more unthinkable tragedy. In the end 'Of Mice and Men' is a story of broken dreams and loneliness both of which are evident in Curley's wife and her life signifies the broken dream just like so many of the characters in the book. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE John Steinbeck section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE John Steinbeck essays

  1. "Compare and contrast the way Curley's wife is portrayed in the novel and the ...

    set of clothing and also show in her body language how the character of Curley's wife is more of a lonely, sad, unhappy, attention-seeking character. This is showed at scenes such as where she goes into the fields to see George and Lennie working, just so she can share some

  2. 'Of Mice and Men' .Explain how Curleys Wife is portrayed in the novel? Why ...

    To the men on the farm she is considered as a "tart", a woman trying to escape her husband. The men try to avoid her sexual powers for fear of losing their jobs; but the selfish woman cannot see that.

  1. A Character Study of Curley's Wife And The Role of Women.

    Steinbeck introduces Curley's wife with no name. Causes in those days' wives were like an object to their husband. They had nothing at all, apart from their husband's who didn't care about them. I know there husbands didn't care about them because near the end where Lennie accidentally killed Curley's Wife (breaking her neck).

  2. Explore the presentation of Curley's wife in "Of Mice and Men".

    little? this implies that she has short temper as she can get angry over little thing.

  1. In "Of Mice and Men" is Curley's Wife a Hero or a Villain?

    Our initial perception of Curley?s Wife as being promiscuous can be attributed to the ?heavily made up? state that implies she invests much effort into her appearance as a result of craving attention ? therefore, indicating the first tangible sign of her loneliness.

  2. Of Mice and Men - Curley's Wife

    Furthermore, Curley?s wife behaviour on the ranch is something which again agrees to Candy?s remark about the fact that she ?Has the eye?. Continuously throughout the novel, we find that Curley?s wife is regularly on the ranch claiming to be ?looking for Curley?.

  1. The character of Curley's Wife in "Of Mice and Men".

    Curley's wife's character seem more susceptible, optimistic, and inquisitive than what we had assumed from the beginning of the novel. Consequently she appeared more ordinary. The loneliness felt by Curley?s Wife is a key talking point in the novel. Curley's wife is perhaps the loneliest person of all on the ranch.

  2. How is Curley's wife presented in "Of Mice and Men"?

    She likes to create attention for herself as she clearly feels she isn?t noticed. She uses the fact she is a vulnerable female against Crooks and is very racist towards him. ?Well you keep your trap shut then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work