Of mice and men Essay

Submitted By MohIslam
Words: 1032
Pages: 5

In ‘Of mice and Men’ Steinbeck uses each character to portray many themes and ideas. Some of the main themes in this novel are loneliness, shattered dreams and isolation. Despite Curley’s wife not being a main character she represents most of these themes. She is presented as a flirtatious, promiscuous and trouble-some woman who is a danger to the men on the ranch. This essay will explore the writer’s ideas and how both dislike and sympathy are created for Curley’s wife between the first and last appearance. Insignificance
In Steinbeck’s of mice and men, before we even meets Curley’s wife we can learn that she is disliked and hated for being a danger and a threat to everyone on the ranch. The fact the she is not given a name and is only referred to as Curley’s wife relates to the 1930s when woman were just treated as a possession of their husbands. Steinbeck uses derogatory terms such as ‘jailbait’, ‘rat trap’ and ‘tart’ to describe Curley’s wife, this instantly makes the reader judge her morals and character and it also creates estrangement for her. Upon Curley’s wife’s first appearance, it is made clear that her sexuality is a major part of her character. We can learn this from the quote “both men looked up…”, Steinbeck wrote ‘men ‘ instead of George and Lennie’s names to imply that all men look at here in such a way that she is seen as a sexual object and the fact that they looked ‘up’ means that her sexuality gives her the advantage over men. Then it says “the rectangle of sunshine was cut off”, the word ‘sunshine’ represents many positive aspects of life such as happiness, friendship and dreams. At this point Curley’s wife’s back is towards the light, this indicates that all of her dreams and happiness is behind her and only existed and held value in the past. Another thing we can depict from this quote is that the sunshine ‘was cut off’ by Curley’s wife, from this Steinbeck could be foreshadowing her shattering all the other characters’ dreams. The use of ‘cut off’ instead of blocked foreshadows the fact that the dreams of the characters are suddenly shattered after progressing slightly. This relates to the circular structure of the novel - everyone has a dream then they pursue it, progress with it then it gets shattered and then it starts again. Also, hints of Curley’s wife’s isolation and loneliness can be depicted from this quote as it says that she was standing at ‘’the doorway’’, this is evidence that she is unwanted and disliked on the ranch. Disappointment
Steinbeck description of her appearance reveals a lot about her character and the writers ideas. He starts by describing her wit “full rouged lips, wide spread eyes and heavily made up”. Having ‘rouged lips’ represents the danger she is for men and the enticing yet repulsive lust she is trying to show. Curley’s wife dressing and behaving in this way expresses her loneliness, desperation and also the desire to have friends. The ‘wide spread eyes’ suggest that she is childlike and she is infantilised, this is a negative representation of women as their flirtatiousness and indecent decisions are compared to an innocent child’s mistakes and mentality. Curley’s wife wearing a lot of make-up could be because she is trying to gain a lot of attention by making herself look better. The reason she is attempting to attract the wrong type of attention is because of the views people had of young women in the 1930s, they weren’t very fond of having friendly relationships with women and therefore she tries to sexually attract them. Alternatively, being ‘heavily made up’ could suggest that she is trying to hide her inner emotions and her true self. Steinbeck presents all aspects of Curley’s wife’s femininity – including her ‘red fingernails’, ‘sausage like hair’, ‘cotton