'of Mice and Men'. How Does Steinbeck Present Curley’s Wife to the Reader? What Is Her Importance in the Novel?

1939 Words Mar 25th, 2011 8 Pages
Of Mice and Men- Curley’s wife.

How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife to the reader? What is her importance in the novel?

In order to discuss how Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife to the reader one would determine that many readers would interpret her character and importance in many diversified ways. In this essay, one must elaborate on Steinbeck’s true definition of the one and only female in the novel.

First and foremost other females in the novel are mentioned but not greeted with a presence like Curley’s wife. A girl that Lennie scares in ‘Weed’ is mentioned in a past tense and most importantly Lennie’s Aunt Clara is mentioned several times where sometimes she can be perceived as the absent centre. Nonetheless the reader is
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Steinbeck has quoted in the past, “Curley’s wife is essentially a good and trusting person who grew up in an atmosphere of fighting and suspicion”. Her pretence of hardness is largely a sham. It is all that she knows. She is not particularly over-sexed, but has been forced to recognise that her sexuality is the only weapon she has and the only thing for which she is noticed. However, her weapon of sexuality backfires as it will be the death of her.

Lennie’s naivety is finally seduced by her sexuality and he commits manslaughter on her as he’s unaware of his vast strength. Like Curley’s wife’s weapon of sexuality, Lennie’s weapon is his amazing strength. In the situation of Lennie’s strength versus Curley’s wife sexuality, Lennies strength results in his demise just as Curley’s wife sexuality did.

Ostensibly Curley’s wife is capable of exuding a huge sexuality, but she combines it with innocence, vulnerability and an inability to enjoy sex. The vulnerable and insecure side of Curley’s wife is what makes her good and pure. She was almost certainly a virgin before she married Curley because she has had it preached at her so hard from her upbringing that it is the only way that she can get a husband.

The narrators description of Curley’s wife physical appearance is figuratively sexual “She had full rouged lips” implies that her lips are for the purpose of kissing and possibly to perform fellatio
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