At that time women were perceived as much inferior to men and possibly genetically less capable then men. Curley’s wife is seen as property of Curley which casts her out from the rest of the ranch population. She is seen as Curley’s property which therefore means her life has no meaning or significance other than being a wife. When she wants to socialize, she talks to the other ranch hands and always tends to claim she is looking for Curley, but really seeking a companion to talk to. Her behaviors make the reader/s get feelings of contempt or even remorse due to the way she lacks moral and social discipline for herself by acting in such a flirtatious, attention seeking, obnoxious way towards the ranch workers.
Curley's Wife, Innocent or Not? Of Mice and Men is not a novel that portrays women considerately, examples of this are shown throughout the novel, in particular Curley's wife, who walks the ranch as a temptress and as a result is treated with scorn throughout the course of the novel, resulting in her death. This essay will analyze and discuss Steinbeck's portrayal of Curley's wife. Whether or not she is ultimately an innocent person caught in a tragic situation or simply a malevolent person who brings about her own inevitable doom. Steinbeck portrays Curley's wife at the beginning of the novel as a tramp, a tart that threatens to destroy any male on the ranch.
Curley's wife was treated with injustice due to the fact that she was the only female on the ranch and because she had no one to converse with. Curley's wife has no female friends to share with so naturally she would want to go talk to the men on the ranch. Most often she would go talk to someone who she really did not need to talk to. An example of one of these instances would be when she enters Crooks house and starts talking to Lennie, Candy, and Crooks (77). She is portrayed as a 'tart' (28) and as a flirtatious lady who is going to cause the men trouble (32).
For instance, when Curley’s wife tries to talk to Lennie in the Barn while he avoids her, she says, “I get lonely, I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad”(42). Curley is careless with his wife since she is always solitary and had no one to talk with because of Curley’s jealousy. Curley is not a good husband since he constantly does not let his wife to speak with George or any other worker of the ranch because he gets upset and jealous. Also, when Curley’s wife is talking to Lennie, Candy, and Crooks in Crooks bunk she states “I think I know where they all went even Curley”(37).
She would flirt with the ranch hands for her own fun and she stupidly tried the same with Lennie. She was racist and a bit of a "tart". You could also look at her sympathetically. She was the lonely wife of jealous husband. All she wanted is someone to talk to but all there was were the ranch hands who didn't want anything to do with her because they would get in trouble.
Steinbeck is addressing the struggle for female existence during this period by leaving Curly's wife as the solitary female of the book, unneeded, and unwanted by the other characters. During this essay I will explore the significance of how Steinbeck presents Curly's wife through the connotations of her name, how she is first shown, her parallels with other characters and finally how she is presented when she has died . '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 use of a possessive apostrophe emphasises the point even further that she belongs to him and he controls her, although she can try to push the boundaries of society's rules and expectations, he will always be there to stop her as she is dominated by him.
Of mice and men controlled assessment Lillian Kennedy In the novel of mice and men Steinbeck explores various different attitudes towards woman in the 1930’s at the time of the great depression. The great depression was extremely hard for everyone especially the woman. Steinbeck portrays society’s views through the characters and events in the novel. Inequality between the sexes in the 1930’s is mainly portrayed through the character of Curly’s wife. Interestingly she is never named, she is merely referred to as ‘Curly’s wife’, thus giving the impression that she has no individual identity reflecting attitudes towards woman in the 1930’s.
Curley’s wife clearly feels neglected by her husband and she likes to create attention for herself as she feels she isn’t noticed. She is extremely lonely, and that is why she is constantly going in to the bunkhouse to allegedly ‘look for Curley’ but really she is crying out for the attention and affection that her loveless marriage lacks. “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?” and “Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs – a nigger an a dum dum and a lousy ol’ sheep – an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.” This shows how desperate she is for contact with people. She is isolated because she is the only woman on the ranch, and because of this Curley is possessive over her. No characters in the novel care for Curley’s Wife (except for Lennie for a brief time) and very little attention is given to her- partly because they are intimidated by the potential wrath of Curley, son of the boss, if they step out of line concerning his wife.
Choose one character introduced in chapter 2 and write 2 paragraphs on how Steinbeck presents them. Use language features and comment on the effect of these on the reader. In Of Mice and Men, chapter 2, Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as a young flirtatious ‘girl’ who is trying to seek attention of all the men on the ranch through her physical appearance. This is seen through the use of invective language ‘well, I think Curley’s married … a tart’ by candy. The harsh use of word ‘tart’ for Curley’s wife before her introduction in the novella suggests that her actions are not praised by the men on the ranch .This also implies that Steinbeck wants to creates a false impression about Curley’s wife in the readers head which leads them to prejudice before meeting her.
This is shown, firstly, by talking to “bindle stiffs”, she really has no one else to go to and so resulted to what comes across to be the lowest people on the ranch. This is another clear sign of her desperation and of “ache for attention” that she feels inside. But the quote also shows her loneliness and defeat when she states that there “ain’t nobody else”, seemingly illustrating that there really is no one else that will listen to her talk. Curley’s wife can also be compared to Crooks because both characters suffer a great deal of prejudice from the other people on the ranch. Crooks often talks about his loneliness and how that the more lonely people get the more “mean” and “sick” they become.