Explore the ways Steinbeck creates dislike of and sympathy for Curley’s wife in his novel ‘Of Mice and Men’?

2197 WordsMay 2, 20149 Pages
‘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…show more content…
The repetition of the colour ‘red’ suggests danger and passion, supported by similarities between her and the girl in Weed. Not only is Curley’s wife described as a floozy, but also as threatening. When she enters the barn where Crook and Candy are, they are both afraid and ‘were scowling down away from her eyes’ this prevention of eye contact could be seen that she is exerting power over the men. She exercises her power by threatening to hang Crooks, ‘I could get you stung up on a tree so easy’, this links to the theme of violence as she acts meanly and cruelly which reflects the social hierarchy of the time. She goes from being bullied by the men to bullying the ‘weak ones’. Curley’s wife gets frustrated by their unresponsive behaviour towards her. She is used to highlight the racist society and to show the status of black people at that time in America. The reader maybe apprehensive toward Curley’s Wife, yet it is obvious that she may be lonely. Curley’s wife has too much time on her hands ‘Her face was heavily made up’ this is shown by how much make up she is always wearing. None of the men on the ranch will talk to her as they are scared that they may be tempted ‘Maybe you better go along to your own house now’ The reason they don’t talk to her is that they are scared that they could get into trouble with Curley. Steinbeck does this to show how isolated women were in the 1930s. Even though Curley’s wife has

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