Of Mice and Men -Curley's Wife

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Of Mice and Men Character study Curley’s wife In this character study I will examine the portrayal of Curley’s wife in the novella Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck. This character is the only woman in the plot (apart from the dead Aunt Clara and prostitutes) and is given no name. This tells us that she is of little significance and merely a possession or rather just Curley’s wife. We are first introduced to the nameless character in chapter two where Candy describes her as a ‘tart’ in spite of the fact that she has recently got married. He insinuates that she gives all the guys ‘the eye’ and is a loose woman. It is not until later in the chapter when we actually meet Curley’s wife for the first time when she drops by at the bunkhouse, supposedly looking for her husband. George had just been telling Lennie where to hide if he gets into trouble when Curley’s wife suddenly appears at the doorway, her figure blocking out the sunlight. Steinbeck is warning the audience that this woman will cast a shadow over their future dreams. Next we are given a full physical description of Curley’s wife. Steinbeck paints a picture of a ‘heavily made up’ woman who dresses like a prostitute to try and gain the attention of the male workers on the ranch. Curley’s wife almost looks ridiculous with her ‘sausage’ like curls and her red shoes with ostrich feathers. He describes her ‘full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes’ and her red fingernails. Perhaps this mask she wears is hiding a more sensitive character. The narrator uses the colour red as it has connotations of danger, violence and blood. This is a vision of the danger that lies ahead. However, the colour red also expresses passion, seduction and lust which are associated with her character. This first impression suggests Curley’s wife is a sexual character who is looking to stir up trouble in order to get
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