Mise and men
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Curley's wife is so lost, lonely and insignificant that Steinbeck does not even give her a name. She spends the novel trying to find company under the guise of looking for her husband. Curley is in fact an intensely abusive person with a major case of small-guy complex. The irony is that while she pretends to be looking for Curley, she is actually trying to avoid him. The men on the ranch fear Curley's wife. She is a temptress of sorts and she is a possession of Curly’s (hence her name). She projects undertones of sexuality in almost everything she says. The men are lonely which only highlights her danger. They do not want the bosses son, Curley, to get angry. They simply can't afford to lose their job during a depression.
Of Mice and Men is not kind in its portrayal of women. In fact, women are treated with contempt throughout the course of the book. Steinbeck generally depicts women as troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. Curley’s wife, who walks the ranch as a temptress, seems to be a prime example of this destructive tendency—Curley’s already bad temper has only worsened since their wedding. Aside from wearisome wives, Of Mice and Men offers limited, rather misogynistic, descriptions of women who are either dead maternal figures or prostitutes.
Despite Steinbeck’s rendering, Curley’s wife emerges as a relatively complex and interesting character. Although her purpose is rather simple in the book’s opening pages—she is the “tramp,” “tart,” and “bitch” that threatens to destroy male happiness and longevity—her appearances later in the novella become more complex. When she confronts Lennie, Candy, and Crooks in the stable, she admits to feeling a kind of shameless dissatisfaction with her life. Her vulnerability at this moment and later—when she admits to Lennie her dream of becoming a movie star—makes her utterly human and much more interesting than the stereotypical vixen in fancy red shoes. However, it also reinforces the novella’s grim worldview. In her moment of greatest vulnerability, Curley’s wife seeks out even greater weaknesses in others, preying upon Lennie’s mental handicap, Candy’s debilitating age, and the color of Crooks’s skin in order to steel herself against harm.
While she is lonely, very much like the other characters, she also exploits her power as the Boss' son's wife to threaten others. She seeks company from the other ranch men by constantly coming to the bunk house or the barn under the pretence of looking for Curley when ironically, she wants to get away from him.
She's very young, and Steinbeck emphasises this by continuously referring to her as a "girl" which suggests to us that she may only be a teenager or young adult herself. While she can be narcissistic, she also has a vulnerable, more naïve side to her, and this is revealed when she tells Lennie of her dreams of becoming an actress. She was promised by a man to receive a letter from Hollywood, however, she never did receive. This could perhaps be due to the fact that he never actually intended to send her a letter.
She's also had a bad relationship with her mum. And when she didn't receive this letter, she had an argument with her mum. Her marriage to Curley could be because of this. After her argument with her mother, it is suggested that she left home, and this was the same night that she had met Curley. Her marriage to Curley could be a result of her homelessness after she leaves the home of her mother, because she had made it clear on several occasion that Curley is not a nice man and that she does not like him.
In the start she is shown wearing mostly red the colour symbols danger and making George think that she is going to be trouble, and the position of her body means she was flirting, “Her body was thrown forward” mainly to gain more attention and she is aware that she is flirting and uses an excuse like ” Have you seen Curly” . She is seen as a position like in any marriage in the 1930s before and 2 she is seen as nothing more than a ticket to prison “jail bate” as George describes this is true because Lenny is lured in by her. Slim thinks that she is to be at home as he said to Curley. Even Curley wants her to stay home and not talk to the guys. She is very harsh to crooks and she makes threats to kill him i.e. get him hung but at that time black people had just been released from enslavement and she calls him names like ‘nigga’ and saying that she can get him “strung up in a tree and nobody would care” and crooks does not react in any way or form of movement all he said was “yes ma am” as if he was still enslaved. In the end she was talking about her hopes and dreams and she said she wanted to be an actress and she had met two actors which both said she looked like she would make a good actress and that she could join them the first one that came to her and asked her to come with him, but her mum said no then the same night she met Curly she met someone from Hollywood and he said he will send her a letter but her mum had supposedly stole the letter and hidden it the letter was never found she also said that she never liked curly. In the end she was depicted as finally free when Lenny killed her by accident and I think we were supposed to feel sorry for her but in a way she should not have even been in the barn with Lennie and should have been in the Curly’s house. Steinbeck sets the scene as a sad time in the barn when she is dead “Curly’s wife lay on her back and she was half covered with hay” and there was a symbol of freedom from the life she was given which was bird that came through the barn window circled her and flew out again. She treats the world as it is hers for the taking and everything revolves around her i.e. she gets angry when some one doesn’t talk to her. She is not one for the saying treat others how you want to be treated because she will say what she thinks but if someone else dose she will get them removed because she is the owner of the ranches sons wife. When she is going out around the ranch she is always looking for someone to flirt with when she is meant to be in Curly’s house.
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