Curley's Wife

533 Words3 Pages
Curley’s wife Part (a) What methods does Steinbeck use to present Curley’s wife and the attitudes of others to her? Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife and the physical description of her to portray how lonely she is on the ranch and how this need for company is considered an annoyance by the ranch workers. Steinbeck’s description of Curley’s wife itself suggests she has a lot of spare time on the ranch and spends most of it alone working on her looks. Her “heavily made up” features and “hair hung in little rolled clusters” imply she is perhaps insecure of her looks. This further suggests her need to overcompensate in her image as an attempt to impress the ranch workers and her husband. The reader may infer that Curley’s wife succeeds in her attempt for their attention when slim addresses her as “good-lookin” in a friendly manner, however we notice George stays constantly wary of her and treats her with a similarly brusque air “well he aint now.” Steinbeck uses this short and abrupt sentence to perhaps highlight George’s intolerance of her, and her dangerously flirty personality. Steinbeck prefigures the death of Curley’s wife, later in the novel, also through his physical description of her. This is shown through use of the colour red in her; “rouged lips”; “little bouquets of red ostrich feathers” and “red mules” perhaps meaning her association with the colour red holds connotations of danger and death. Her death is also prefigured in the very first introduction of her entering the bunkhouse “the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off” Steinbeck presents the sunshine as being part of Curley’s wife’s’ ‘dream’ and perhaps being used as a metaphor for the freedom and happiness she longs for, however when the light is “cut
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