How Curley's Wife Is Represented in 'of Mice and Men'

543 Words3 Pages
How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife in Chapter two? Throughout the book, the reader never discovers Curley’s wife’s name. This in itself is a significant message, suggesting that she is merely his property and therefore has no need of a name, and she isn’t considered equal to the men. Before we even meet her, Steinbeck gives a strong impression that she is; in Candy’s words ‘a tart’. 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’. This of course distorts their opinion of women. George for example thinks she is no better than a prostitute, saying ‘she’d clear out for twenty bucks’, implying she has very low morals. This opinion of her is empathised when Candy says ‘Well – she got the eye’ meaning she is overly flirtatious with the ranch workers. Of course, the reader, having not met her yet, cannot be sure about whether or not Candy is misinterpreting her over friendliness as flirtatious behaviour. It is when we actually meet her that Steinbeck confirms Candy’s views. When talking to Lennie and George, she uses provocative and obviously flirtatious body language ‘She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the doorframe so that her body was thrown forward.’ Steinbeck reinforces this view of her being seductive when describing her; ‘…She had full rouged lips… Her fingernails were red... She wore a cotton housedress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red
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