Explore the ways Steinbeck creates dislike of and sympathy for Curley’s wife in his novel ‘Of Mice and Men’?
‘Of Mice and Men’ is a short novel by John Steinbeck, which is set in 1930s America. At this time in American History they were suffering from a hard hitting economic depression. This book is set on a ranch in Soledad, California. Throughout this novella, Steinbeck addresses key theme, for example discrimination, loneliness and the American Dream. Curley’s wife is a complex character. She is the only woman on the ranch. Curley’s wife is used as a plot device by Steinbeck to explore themes like discrimination and attitudes toward women in the 1930s. Although, she is thought of as a ‘tart’ at the beginning, throughout the novel we develop our opinion of Curley’s wife.
Steinbeck introduces us to Curley’s wife through the opinion of
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When she is in the barn with Crooks, Candy and Lennie ‘talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs –a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep- an ‘liken’ it because they ain’t nobody else’ this show she will go to great lengths to talk to somebody and will even talk to the ‘weak ones’ when nobody is around. When she is alone in the barn with Lennie, she expresses her loneliness ‘I get awful lonely’ she does this to gain sympathy from the reader, although she is telling the one person who won’t understand what she is saying. Curley’s wife is the only women on the ranch and this could link to her loneliness. This links to one of Steinbeck theme, loneliness and how Curley’s wife being female means that she is constantly segregated and isolated because of her gender.
As the reader reads on we start to realise that Curley’s wife isn’t what we expected. We start to see that she is more of a victim. Her name Curley’s wife suggest that she is a possession of Curley’s ‘Curley’s is even cockier’n ever since he got married’ this suggest that she is something that Curley can show off to the other men on the ranch. Also Slims dog and Aunt Clara all have name but Curley’s wife doesn’t which even more suggests that she is object in society. She is also married to Curley who isn’t spends his Saturday evening in the ‘Cat house’ which does suggest that Curley has no love for his new wife. Curley’s wife has an innate