Of Mice And Men Curley's Wife Essay

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Pages: 4

1936… the year John Steinbeck told a story that startled bookshops. “Of Mice and Men” starkly reveals – with dexterity and integrity- the anxieties and depredations of the Depression Era in Western America. Steinbeck’s divine ability to intimately describe the plight of dispirited bindle stiffs stems from his own experience in the transient workforce. In his novella, Steinbeck addresses perennial issues of the unattainability of the American Dream, human isolation and loneliness. While these issues are all extremely relevant to the human condition, loneliness and isolation, especially concerning Curley’s Wife is an incredibly complex (yet secondary) discourse in the novella.

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He fails to acknowledge that she is the only woman on the ranch, has an abusive husband and, craves friendship. Steinbeck projects his hostilities toward women through Curley’s Wife and her circumstances. Ultimately, her representation is symbolic of Steinbeck’s expectations for women (common in the 1930s). Upon marriage, women have no identity; they are to act as property of their husband, be in the home and have no place interacting with other men. While, her predatory, sensual nature and pursuit to destroy people less powerful than herself, is only a plight for attention, it prevents us from sympathising her abysmal situation. For example, the reader specifically begins to despise her when she threatens Crooks with lynching. Subsequently, the audience perceives her as a vain, provocative and a vicious tart. Rather than a dispirited, lonely woman. Hence, the representation of Curley’s wife is very much a product of Steinbeck’s social context- women are possessions who belong to men and those who are disobedient are “evil and mean”. Curley’s Wife’s demise was ultimately a punishment for her defiance. Sinise’s revision of the woman’s role in the film is one that employs empathy for her loneliness by illuminating what gave form to her cynical attitude. Effectively, correcting Steinbeck’s harsh