How much sympathy does the reader feel towards Curleys wife?

1322 Words Dec 13th, 2013 6 Pages
Curley’s wife is a character in the novel “Of mice and men” set in California and written in 1937 by John Steinbeck. She is the only woman on a ranch of itinerant working men, and because of this she gets treated by each man in a different manner. Most of the men treat her in a negative way, therefore causing different degrees of sympathy from the reader. Sympathy implies that the reader feels an emotional connection towards the character. Her unhappy marriage to the boss’s son causes her great loneliness and unhappiness as she tries, in vain, to find someone to talk to on the ranch.

The reader may feel certain degrees of sympathy for Curleys wife due to the fact that the ranch workers are always talking behind
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Towards the end of her initial introduction, Curleys wife addresses George “playfully”, with could portray her as an intentionally promiscuous character. She is known around the ranch for teasing the male ranch workers and being apparently disloyal to Curley. The adjective “playfully” could cause the reader to feel unsympathetic towards Curleys wife, because she may give the men false hope by flirting and acting in a promiscuous way when she is around them. On the other hand, Curleys wife flirting could be interpreted as unintentional, harmless conversations and friendships between her and the ranchworkers. This would be understandable because as she mentions later in the novella in Crooks’ room, she gets “awful lonely” on the ranch. Curleys wife is seen by everyone on the ranch as a sexual object, due to her makeup and clothes. Whenever she tries to interact with any of the workers, they assume she is flirting and spread rumours about her, however she may just be a lonely woman on a ranch full of men. Curley regards her as an item that he possesses ownership over, and so he is always looking for her to make sure she isn’t with any of the other men. This shows that Curley doesn’t trust his wife, and so their relationship and marriage isn’t a happy one.

In chapter
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