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Of Mice and Men - Curley's Wife

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Curley?s wife?s role within the novel Of Mice and Men is one of great significance for various reasons. Her seductive behaviour and her provocative physical appearance is something which causes a lot of complications on the ranch for herself and also for others as well. The reader?s perception of Curley?s wife begins to alter as we get deeper and deeper within the novel and as more is revealed about a woman who, at first, seemed like a very minute character. One of the very first things we realise about Curley?s wife is her lack of identity. Steinbeck never mentions the actual name of this character but rather refers to her as ?Curley?s wife? throughout the novel. This implies that she is not considered as a single individual but rather a possession and a ?trophy wife?. Steinbeck not naming this particular character could be referring to how during the Great Depression of the 1930?s, women were greatly oppressed and were not treated as to that of equal to men and so her lack of name demotes Curley?s wife to having very little status. Curley?s wife herself even seems to understand that her role on the ranch is a very unimportant one as in chapter four she says to Crooks, Lennie and Candy ?They left all the weak ones here?. ...read more.


We mainly see Curley?s wife as a woman who holds great pride in herself and displays a lot of arrogance towards the others on the ranch. One example which shows Curley?s wife?s prideful and arrogant behaviour is when she?s with Lennie, Crooks and Candy and says the following; ?ever?body out doin? som?pin?An? what am I doing? Standin? here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs ? a nigger an? a dum-dum and a lousy ol? sheep?. This is one of many occasions where Curley?s wife makes a prejudicial remark regarding the itinerant workers on the ranch. Steinbeck has given Curley?s wife the ability to speak her mind freely as it gives the reader an insight as to what may happen next. For example, we know that Curley?s wife is not afraid to speak her mind and this shows us that her attitude to the other characters and how she treats them will at some point lead her into a lot of trouble. Anoth,er attitude that Curley?s wife presents to others on the ranch is her flirtatious behaviour. An example of this can be given when she is in the presence of Slim, who she tends to flirt on various occasions. For example when she greets Slim after her first appearance in the novel, he replies with ?Hi, good-looking?. ...read more.


Steinbeck presents Curley?s wife?s death in a very emotional wrenching way. He does this by contradicting the reader?s feelings about her so that the reader now feels sympathetic towards her. He achieves this by using various contrasting imagery. For example, by presenting Curley?s wife?s death as a way of releasing her from her misery. Another form of contrast is how previous to her death, she was described as a ?tart? and a ?jailbait?, however after her death Steinbeck described her as ??very pretty and simple. Her face was sweet and young?. This shows that again Steinbeck wants the readers opinion regarding Curley?s wife to change from what it was when her character was first introduced. The death of Curley?s wife also indicated that the Dream that Lennie and George shared is not even more unrealistic than it was before. The result of Curley?s wife?s death was more than just the loss of a character but also the loss of friendship, the loss of a dream and the loss of a ?happily ever after? for the novel. In conclusion, I think that Steinbeck?s main intentions was to present Curley?s wife in multiple forms so that it gives the reader a chance to judge the character only for their perception to change as the storyline gets deeper. Steinbeck develops Curley?s wife?s character as we get further into the novel and the character who at first seemed easy to understand gradually increased in complexity. ...read more.

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