John Steinbeck and Curley’s Wife Essay

Submitted By esther_woods
Words: 600
Pages: 3

Of Mice and Men
The novel 'Of Mice and Men' was written by John Steinbeck in 1936. It is set in the society of the 1920's.
Steinbeck uses many different techniques to present Curley’s wife such as colour imagery, appearance, metaphors and similes in the early stages of the novel. The effect of these techniques is that the reader creates a mental image of Curley’s wife even before she even enters the novel. The author sets up our perception of the character 'Curley's wife' in a way that allows us to develop our understanding of her through other characters (the ranchers).
Before we meet her, we are given a detailed description of her, which sets an image in our mind of what she looks like. “She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red... She wore a cotton house dress and red mules”. Steinbeck uses the colour red to describe what she’s wearing. We would associate the colour red with danger or promiscuity. Moreover she is ‘heavily made up’ which could suggest that she’s trying to impress someone, even though she’s married. Not long after Steinbeck’s description of her, she gets called, “jail bait”, “rattrap” and “poison”. Steinbeck could have done this so that the audience’s perception of Curley’s wife (from the first description) develops even further so that they have a clear image of her being an, almost, villain; without even meeting her.
Curley is arrogant, self-centered and jealous. His wife is a flirt and definitely lacks the attention (the right kind of attention) she should receive from her husband. She's a trophy- an object, and he treats her as such.
Curley and his wife have a very unstable marriage, lacking in communication, love and respect. Curley believes that his wife is a possession, and that manipulation, intimidation, and insensitivity provide him with power over a wife who is, in fact, just a lonely, young woman who needs to be loved. Referring back to the inference I made on how Curley believes his wife is a possession, it is evident that she doesn’t have a name, therefore doesn’t hold her own identity. Moreover, ‘Curley’s wife’ has an apostrophe, showing that she is in fact, a belonging of