What does the reader learn about Curley's Wife (in Of Mice and Men) from Chapter 2?

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HWK        What does the reader learn        11th November 2015

        about Curley’s wife in

        Chapter 2?

Curley’s wife is one of the most important characters in Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ because she gets killed by Lennie at the end of the novel. She’s also the only women on the ranch, reflecting the time that the book is set in. In Chapter 2, we are introduced to her.

Lennie and George have just arrived at the ranch and are getting to know all the ranch hands. They’ve already met Candy and Curley, and Curley’s left the bunkhouse. After he’s gone, Curley’s wife makes her introduction in the novel. Steinbeck describes her as standing in the door of the bunkhouse, blocking out the ‘sunshine in the doorway.’ Light is often symbolic of goodness, hope and general happiness. The fact that she’s blocking this light from entering the bunkhouse gives the reader a sense of foreboding – it suggests that she will block George and Lennie’s dream of the farm with the rabbits.

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Her physical appearance, dress and make up also tell the reader about potential danger. For example, Steinbeck describes her as having ‘red’ nails and ‘rouged’ lips. She also wears a ‘white cotton dress’ with ‘red mules’. Steinbeck’s colour choice of red suggests imagery of danger, passion and anger. It is also the colour of blood which emphasises the point of danger. The use of this colour had been used before – in Weed where Lennie was caught clutching a woman’s red dress. This suggests a similar outcome of the new ranch. The fact her physical features are so focused upon ...

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