Steinbeck makes the reader conflicted on how they feel about her throughout the novel until and after her death. At the start of the novel our first impressions of Curley’s wife is shared with the other men on the ranch; in a negative way. The reader dislikes her as she is interpreted as being flirtatious, craving attention and provocative. Our first reference of her is at the start where the ranchmen talk about her. “Well I think Curley’s married…a tart.” Steinbeck used the word tart, as it is an undermining term to say that a woman is promiscuous at that time.
Her character is harshly judged from the start simply because she’s a woman and no one saw things from her perspective. Because of this, the reader is influenced to feel sympathy for Curley’s wife. Her husband, who is always trying to keep a close eye on her, controls her. He is exceedingly possessive of her, and is easily angered when he catches her talking to another man. “I get lonely.” She says to Lennie, “You can talk to people, but I cant talk to nobody but Curley”.
The fact that Curley's Wife, on a ranch, is 'heavily made up' indicates the fact that she is lonely, as on a ranch there is need to wear such heavy make up, and the only purpose it serves it to attract attention from the other men. Her husband Curley also seems to isolate her, taking away her right to companionship, a key theme in the novel, despite the fact she is married, showing itinerant workers are not the only ones lacking companionship. Adverbs are used by Steinbeck to show Curley's Wife's dangerous nature when around the other characters. The adverb 'playfully' is used to describe the way she talks to George and Lennie, showing the way she tries to get the attention of the men, despite her marriage to Curley. However she does not know that Lennie, unlike the other men, cannot control his actions as the other men can, and this eventually results in her and Lennie's deaths.
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. Moreover, we can also link this to the theme of loneliness because Curley’s wife is using her body to attract other men just because Curley is not paying attention towards her, leaving her lonely in the world of men. This thought can lead readers to feel pity on her being lonely and ignore how she behaves. However, this flirtatious expression of Curley’s wife is confirmed when Steinbeck describes her ‘full roughed lips’ and ‘heavily made up eyes’. Steinbeck effective use of adverb ‘heavily’ emphasise that her makeup is
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.
We can see that Curley’s wife is portrayed by Steinbeck as a ‘tart’ in the beginning of the book, she is not cared for or liked by many of the men on the ranch at all as she irritates them and they think that she is not loyal towards Curley. However, by the end of the book the reader feels sorry for her as we see deeper inside her and see how lonely she is, she only has the image of a tart because she is so alone and the only way she knows to make friends is by being a flirtatious person. The first mention of Curley’s wife is in chapter 2 when George and ‘the swamper’ are talking about her. They say that she is ‘Purty ... but- well-she got the eye’. They mean that she is always looking and flirting with other men.
'Curley's wife is a very complex character because she is presented in different personalities at different chapters and in this chapter we see that she desires freedom and fame. Steinbeck presents her in such way that or opinion of her changes through out the novel, first we see her as a flirt then we see her presented in a horrible racist personality and now Steinbeck presents her as Innocent. Steinbeck did this because at this chapter where she dies it's like he wants us to feel sympathy for her because not that she is dead her problems are gone and there is not need for attentions because now she looks relaxed laying down on the hay. The language used in this chapter is very descriptive especially the part when Curley's wife dies, this might be because at the time
This suggests how little respect women were given in that particular time period; Curley’s wife is a woman, and therefore not good enough to have an actual name. She is avoided by everyone on the ranch because they fear she is trying to seduce the men; she is objectified, and never thought of as a real person with
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.
Lennie Snopes - Sartoris’s mother. Sad, emotional, and caring, Lennie futilely attempts to stem her husband’s destructive impulses. She is beaten down by the family’s endless cycle of flight and resettlement and the pall of criminality that has stained her clan. Nervous in the presence of her irascible, unpredictable husband, she is a slim source of comfort for Sartoris in the violence-tinged world of the Snopes family. Lennie Snopes Opposite Abner Snopes, with his penchant for revenge and destruction, is Lennie Snopes, a voice of reason and morality in the family.