How Does Steinbeck Encourage a Reader to Respond to the Death of Curley’s Wife?

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How does Steinbeck encourage a reader to respond to the death of Curley’s wife? Steinbeck encourages the reader to sympathise with Curley’s wife firstly by controlling how Lennie deals with her death, unlike earlier on in the novel Curley’s wife is treated with respect as Lennie ‘carefully’ removes his hand from her mouth and bends over her ‘closely’. Despite his mental disability Lennie still recognises the importance of Curley’s wife’s death when he says that he’s ‘done a bad thing’, her death has such a huge effect on him that he doesn’t even become conscience of the outside world until he hears a ‘double clang of shoes on metal’. Before running away Lennie even takes the time to go ‘back and’ look ‘at the dead girl’, this emphasises the effect Curley’s wife’s death had on Lennie and highlights her importance. Steinbeck then continues to create a calm and picturesque scene for Curley’s wife hence ‘sun streaks were high on the wall’ and ‘light was growing soft in the barn’, Steinbeck personifies the light to be ‘growing’ because of Curley’s wife and allows her to finally have her moment in the spotlight as she had always dreamt of being a film star. Curley’s wife then has the ‘meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention’ and everything negative about her taken away, the use of hypertaxis emphasising how many negative qualities were seen on ‘her face’. In contrast to how other men in the novel described Curley’s wife Steinbeck describes her to be ‘very pretty’, ‘simple’, ‘sweet’ and ‘young’, showing her true identity to the readers which was not recognised by others at the ranch. The reader is forced to reflect on Curley’s wife’s death; ‘As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment’, the use of long complex

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