How does Curleys Wife appear to be weak "In Of Mice and Men", and how does she manipulate her power?

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HWK        How does Curley’s Wife appear to be weak        23rd November 2015

        In Of Mice and Men, and how does she

        Manipulate her power?

Power has an important role to play in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ throughout the whole novel. Power is displayed through authority, wealth, control, strength, and status – and the quantities of these that each character possesses determines their place in the hierarchy of power in the novel. Curley’s Wife is considered one of the weak ones, because of a lack of some of these attributes.

The most obvious evidence that gives this point substance is her name – Curley’s Wife. This directly shows her status in society, and how her authority is affected by her husband. She is not given her own name in the novel, instead taking Curley’s name – becoming a sort of extension of Curley. She is not independent, as she does not have her own separate name, and shows that her position of authority is lower than Curley’s – he is the dominant one. Her status is lower than Curley’s because she does not have her own separate title, and gets objectified towards Curley – she is “Curley’s” rather than her own self. Due to the context of the time, being a woman gave you a lower social status than men – many were seen as second rate to their male equivalents. They had less power than men, this was displayed through having less rights, particularly when it came to democracy and voting – less control. She was confined by her social status as a woman. This makes her level of power in the novel significantly lower than Curley’s – adding to the idea that she is presented as one of the weak ones.

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Despite her social status as a white woman, she manages to manipulate her position over others that she deems weaker than her. Although she is a woman, she is a white American, and this means that automatically she has a social power over the black population – in the context of time and due to racism this was widely accepted. A clear example of this is given by Steinbeck when she tries to talk with Candy, Crooks, and Lennie in Crook’s room. She is not wanted by any of those three characters, and Crooks, filled with hope about the dream ...

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