Explore the ways in which Steinbeck presents Curly’s wife as lonely character in part 5 “Of Mice and Men”
The novel “Of Mice and Men” was written by Steinbeck during the Great American Depression on the 1920s and 1930 set in Salinas valley where John Steinbeck was born, and a place of major immigration. The setting of the novel is in an area commonly referred to as the Dust Bowl because a series of dust storms in the 1930s caused major damage to the agricultural land in some states. During this time, itinerant workers were used to move from one ranch to another and they did not have a life and a family which means that no one cared of them being dead or alive, this depicts how each of the workers were lonely in some way.
Curley’s wife is an important protagonist in the novel and Steinbeck interprets her as a lonely person. She’s the only woman in the ranch which is unhappy because Curley, her husband, is not treating her right as a result she feels isolated this has been shown in page 85 when she reveals Lenny how lonely she’s feeling,” Why can’t I talk to you, I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.” This shows how lonely she’s feeling and how desperate and hopeless she is. Steinbeck displays her loneliness using two negatives in one sentence and making the audience think how desperate would a woman be as she is recurring to Lennie, a simple minded guy, for a hope of talk.
In the novel Curley’s wife is never given a name. This implies her position in society as a woman and outlines her as Curley’s possession as her name in the book is Curley’s wife. This also shows that it was a patriarchal society that as even she was the wife of one of the main characters and he had his own reputation and he was the son of the boss, they still didn’t call her from her real name.
At the start of this scene you can see that George it’s outside; it’s hot, light, the sun is shining, there’s movement going on, there’s people playing and shouting and there’s joy. However inside its dark, in the cool barn, quiet this build up a contrast as it seems like something bad will happen.
Steinbeck uses the adjective “awful” as Curley’s wife reiterates her loneliness by repeating the word “lonely”. She tries to make him empathise but Lennie is a simple minded guy and he is incapable of giving her compassion. Also she is really desperate with a hope of talk so she tries to change the subject so Lenny might talk to her by saying “ What you got covered up there “ this shows how she’s trying to retain his attention, but Lennie is still rejecting to talk to her.
A little while later Curley’s wife starts to feel comfortable with Lennie and starts developing the conversation and trying to make him comfortable too. At this stage she is feeling comfortable and it’s been years she hasn’t had this feeling. She wants Lennie to feel comfortable so the conversation develops and she gets someone to talk to.
Unexpectedly her mood changes to anger and frustration “wha’s the matter with me ““Aint I got right to talk to nobody? Whatta they thin I am, anyways” the deliberate use of rhetorical questions highlights her anger and loneliness as Lennie is declining to talk to her. This has an impact on the audience because shows how desperate she is to talk to Lennie and he’s just discounting what she says.
Curley’s wife reveals her regrets to Lennie when she says “I coulda made something of myself “not doing and being what she always dreamed. The word “darkly” represents her loneliness and how she thinks that there is no point living, this can also be hinting her death. This has an impact on the audience because her loneliness it’s really sad as this could be changed if Curley helped her to feel more loved and she would have back her hope to fulfil her dreams.