How Does Steinbeck Use Curley’s Wife in the Whole Novel to Convey Ideas of America in the 1930’s?

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In ‘Of mice and Men’ Curley’s wife is deliberately not given a name, Steinbeck does this to try and say that she is worthless, irrelevant and purely the property of her husband. Curley’s wife is used as an archetypal for the ideas of America in the 1930s. Other names she is called by the men on the ranch are ‘tramp’, ‘jailbait’ and ‘bitch’; Steinbeck has purposefully used these derogatory terms to show how men saw women at the time. Candy’s in particular is very prejudiced towards her as he says to George and Lennie, ‘I think Curley’s married... a tart.’ This is prejudiced because Candy is known as a gossip and he may just be trying to initiate conversation with George and Lennie and trying to make them see her in his view rather than letting them initially get their own opinion of her based on their experiences rather than his. 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. Because of this, many of the men only see her as an

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