How Is Curleys Wife Important in the Novel of Mice and Men?

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Curley’s wife is a character in ‘Of Mice and Men’ who is initially perceived as flirtatious and promiscuous however as the novel unfolds so does her personality and we begin to understand why she acts the way she does. Much of her behaviour can be traced back to the effects sexism had on women in America in the 1930s. She is lonely, with no other women on the ranch to relate to; her dreams have been lost and buried due to conformity and her final attempt at friendship with Lennie who she sees as someone with boundaries like herself ends in fatality. The phrase ‘lonely in a crowd’ is one that springs to mind when discussing Curley’s wife, she is surrounded by people but just can’t seem to find the attention she desires. When we are primarily introduced to her we can sense she may cause trouble among the men. She is described as having “full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up” it is clear that she craves attention and the only way she sees she is able to receive it is by acting shamelessly around the men. She is unhappy in her marriage and although she flirts with the other men what she wants is not an affair or a relationship but companionship. Loneliness is a theme often associated with the migrant workers in America during the 1930s, but Curely’s wife is in fact the person who experiences it most. She is the only woman on the ranch, which makes her different from the rest. She cannot attempt to make friendships whilst working together as some of the other men do because she does not work, but when she attempts to build bridges the only way she knows how she is shunned. Curley seems to have a great deal of control over his wife, and the fact that she is a woman immediately sets her below the rest. She is stuck in a loveless marriage and yet she doesn’t feel she has the voice or power to make Curley change. When accused of “causin’ trouble” because

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