How Far Do You Agree That Curley’s Wife Is a Victim and Deserves Our Sympathy?
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The novel 'Of Mice and Men' was written by John Steinbeck in 1936. It is set in the society of the 1920's. The author sets up our perception of the character 'Curley's wife' in a way that allows us to develop our understanding of her, and enables us to later decide how far we agree that she is an innocent and vulnerable victim, or a manipulator who deserves her fate.
We are first introduced to the character 'Curley's wife' in chapter two by Candy. We immediately see her being blamed for causing her husband’s arrogance “Curley is cockier'n ever since he got married”. An image of her as someone who should be blamed is therefore set up this early in the novel. Soon after this we get an impression of her appearance. Candy describes her as…show more content… This reveals that their understanding is so limited that they find the exploitation and risk involved in prostitution funny. They like the way Suzy is so relaxed about sex if a guy don’t want a flop, why he can just set in the chairs”. She talks about it like any other commodity and accepts that it is a woman’s purpose. Suzy undermines the rival brothel 'Clara's House', by suggesting that even though it may be more fashionable, the girls have STI's - “if any you guys want look at a kewpie doll lamp and take your own chance getting burned, why you know where to go”. This shows that women like Suzy are forced to be competitive and to make themselves a business as they have no other way. George accepts this and prefers “a good whore house” to having a relationship. The price is his only focus and concern as he says “I ain't puttin out no two and a half”. This is an outrageous approach to women and sex which should not be accepted by the modern reader. But as previously stated, we trust George, and don't feel much sympathy for Curley's wife, being a woman in this society, until we understand the victimisation of women in a society where they are forced into a male stereotype.
A stage in the novel where my sympathy towards Curley's wife fluctuates a great deal, is when she enters Crooks’ room on Saturday night. First we get another sexual description of her to further emphasise that she is a tart. She makes an excuse for entering “any you boys