Instead of calling Curley’s wife by her name they say “Curley’s woman”, “a tart”, “the new kid and a jail bait”. If men talked to her more and started calling her by her name Curley’s wife wouldn’t flirt as much and would feel way more valuable than she did. She is first introduced by candy the swamper, who describes her from her perspective to George and Lennie. The fact that Curley’s wife is introduced through rumours means that the reader already has a negative impression of Curleys wife before she even enter the section. Candy mentions that “she got the eye” suggesting that she is flirtatious and immoral, she flirts with other
Steinbeck uses light symbolically when he writes, ‘The rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off’ by using this metaphor, Steinbeck is still giving the impression that she is an unpleasant character. Women in the 1930’s weren’t treated equally to that of men. This is shown in the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ One example of this is Curley’s Wife is ignored by the men and even her own husband ‘You ain’t wanted here’ Curleys Wife is never given a name in the novel. She is merely a procession of Candy, 'Curly's wife', just a name yet a symbol of how women were then regarded by their husbands, as a possession, a belonging owned only by men. When Curley's wife married him she became 'his', everything she owned became his, Steinbeck could be emphasising this authority and power by having Curly even take her name, so she no longer has her own name but now everyone associates Curley with her, she is no longer her own person.
The first time you hear about Curley’s wife is when candy describes her to George. Candy uses expression such as “she got the eye” and goes on to describe her as looking at other men because of this they call her a “tart”. Through Candy’s words, we could develop an initial perception of Curley’s wife as flirtatious and coquettish. This manipulates us by leading us into having a negative view of her. Her first appearance in the Novel focuses on her appearance.
Steinbeck makes us feel dislike by manipulating us into think she’s seeking attention inappropriately. George is talking to Lennie in chapter 2 when Curley’s wife enters: “a girl stood glancing in”. The word girl has connotations of innocence and naivety yet this is juxtaposed with the contrast description of her posture which is sexually provocative: “she threw her body forward”. George is talking to Lennie and telling him not to talk to anyone, then Curley’s wife enters: “both men glanced up as the rectangle of sunshine was cut off”. When she “cuts off “the “rectangle of sunshine”.
Curley’s wife would always try to show more of herself, and of course the reaction of the men was to call her a “tramp” and a “rat trap”. This is also subtly changing the readers view. We can see that all the men on the Ranch feel the same way about her. Steinbeck almost puts you in the position of Lennie and George, so whenever she insults them, so also insults you, further exaggerating what you feel about Curley’s wife. For example, when she says “They left all the weak ones here” all the men ignore her to let her know that she isn’t wanted, and Crooks tells her to get out.
The shared opinion by the men on the ranch is that they think ‘Curley’s married… a tart’ and that she is ‘giving men the eye’. Steinbeck uses this technique to create a biased opinion and set up the thoughts that men had of women in those days, calling her a ‘tart’ makes the reader think that she is unfaithful or prone to be, causing a disliking towards her. However given the fact that this is coming from gossip the reader realises it may be slightly exaggerated. Curley’s ‘glove fulla Vaseline’ make us pity Curley’s wife as it objectifies her as nothing but a sexual property to someone, which links in with her only ever being referred to as ‘Curley’s wife’ showing us that she is nothing but Curley’s property as she remains nameless throughout the whole novel. Even though we see a sense of power with Curley, we are then brought to the idea that she is ‘giving men the eye’ which makes us dislike her for we assume then that she is being unfaithful and portraying her as a floozy.
(Oates 4) There is a common colloquial phrase that reads “Just smile, it confuses everyone.” None could be truer for Arnold Friend. While a smile is often a gesture used to express happiness, Friend uses it to trick a young girl, Connie, out of her home and thus destroys any chance of her happiness. In this sense, Arnold Friend’s sly grin epitomizes the Old English “smygel ‘cuniculus’ (only in glosses), related to smúgan to creep” (OED). Arnold Friend is nothing more than a creep. He is an older man, attempting to fit in with a much younger crowd, and “marking” girls he wants with his signature “X,” all of which are signs that something is amiss, and possibly dangerous.
Steinbeck presents her as a negative married woman. She has been presented first through the dialogue of ranch-hand Candy when he describes her to George. His opinion is very sexist towards Curley’s wife as he says “Curley married...a tart”. This shows Steinbeck presents her in a very crude manner. The word “tart” shows the immediate impression and effect Curley’s wife has on the other men on the ranch.
The author makes it clear that the men think she is not worthy of respect, and believe she is simply ‘jail bait’. Additionally, she is referred to as bitch, poison, a rattrap, good-lookin’, and purty. So while she may be attractive, it simply serves to make the men more suspicious of her, thinking she has an agenda against them. Women were viewed as not real people, simply temptations or a source of pleasure. This can partly be blamed on the fact that many of the itinerant workers only knew women from the ‘cat-house’.
What is also similar is that when the other ranch hands have a problem with either of the two they complain to their ‘owners’. When Carlson feels Candy’s dog is of no use he questions “why’n’t you just shoot him Candy?” And when controversy sparks over Curley and his wife Carlson again questions “why’n’t you tell her to stay the hell home where she belongs?” This cruel comparison again shows how women were thought of In the 1930s America, the effect it has on the reader is also a cruel and sharp one. It makes the reader belittle Curley’s wife and not think much of her but however on the other hand it may make some readers sympathise with her and actually feel sorry for