Steinbeck uses Curley's wife's character to depict the inferiority of women. He also uses her to inform the reader of the dire range of choices for women of that era. Steinbeck creates the character of Curley's wife to show the reader that life as a house wife is dull and repetitive. He does that by making Curley's wife not fit into the expected mould of a married house wife. She is a lonely character constantly searching for attention, even if it is from ranch workers, cripples and the coloured.
In the John Steinbeck’s novel “of Mice and Men” he introduces us to the character of Curley’s wife. She could be interpreted as a mis-fitting character in the novel as no one relates to her. Steinbeck relates her to how women were powerless during 1930’s and makes her seem desperately lonely and isolated from the others on the ranch. She has sexual power which she uses to get to the men on the ranch and she just needs someone to talk to. She dislikes her husband and had a desire to become a movie star.
Women in the 1930’s were seen by men as scheming and devious. John Steinbeck perceived Curley’s wife as this woman that causes trouble on the farm, which is the cause for the Lennie’s ultimate end. However, we can see at the end of the novel that Curley’s wife is not just this “troublemaker” which the men perceive her as. She opens herself up to Lennie and shares her dreams in life. It shows that she too, like the men on the farm, has dreams too.
Curley’s Wife is a complex character that is mentioned in the novella ‘Of Mice and Men’. In the beginning of the novella we feel sympathy and negativity towards Curley’s Wife. We feel sympathy because Curley’s Wife has no name. This shows that she is not of importance and that she is no more than an object. The characters in the novella refer to her as ‘Curley’s Wife’.
Curley’s wife is also a strong adumbration of the death of the American Dream. The reader holds their opinion of Curley’s wife with a certain bitterness most of the way through the novel, and often disregards everything she says as we sympathise with George and agree with his opinion that Curley’s wife is nothing but “Jail-bait” and “no good”. Curley’s wife tells a story to Lennie in the barn about how she could have been somebody. She says; “He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.
This is shown by her actions and speech. Curley’s wife is lonely because of the way she acts, what she says, and who she talks about. One way that shows that Curley’s wife is lonely is because she acts very flirtatious. For example, right after George and Lennie arrived at the ranch she went into the barn and asked if anyone had seen Curley. “Oh!” She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward.
She is the only female character who appears in the novel and it is her death that ultimately leads to the events of the tragic ending. - Curley’s wife is shown as an important character as she plays a lot of main parts in the book, and the things she says plays an important part in the book ‘I don’t like Curley, he ain’t a nice fella’ this shows that maybe she has regrets about marrying him, and that because she didn’t carry on with her dreams and ambitions, which is one of the themes in the book, that’s why she ended up on the ranch feeling ‘lonely’ she says which is also another theme in the
The title "Of Mice and Men". Firstly Steinbeck portrays Curley's wife as a lonely character. Newly married and in a strange place, she is forbidden by Curley to talk to anyone but him. To counter this, she constantly approaches the ranch hands on the excuse of looking for Curley. The only result is that the men regard her as a "slut", and Curley becomes even more intensely jealous.
Of mice and men is essentially a microcosm of the socio-economic problems faced throughout the great depression in America. The only definitive representation of women throughout the novella is Curley’s wife. Steinbeck was quite cruel in the way he portrayed Curleys wife in the novel, not even giving her a name or identity – this is because he is trying to get across to the reader the patriarchal society that this was. Curley’s wife appears three times in the book; the first time is in chapter 2 where the reader gets the initial impression that she is a “tart”. The second time we see her is in chapter 4 where we gain knowledge of her temperamental side.
She has no friends therefore has a lonely existence. Our first impression of Curley’s wife is by the men on the ranch and what they think about her. Some of the words the men use to describe her include ‘‘tart’’ ‘‘jail-bait’’ and ‘‘she got the eye.’’ These all describe her to be dangerous before we first see her. When we’re first introduced to Curley’s wife she is heavily made up with red lipstick and red ostrich feathers both of which symbolise sexuality as well as danger. She has a very flirtatious nature which makes her husband jealous.