Time taken: 50 mins
Curley’s wife is a very significant character in the novel of mice and men as Steinbeck uses the Character as an opportunity to explore the way in which woman were treated in 1930s America, in a time dominated by men. The fact we never learn Curley’s wife’s name connotes she is merely Curley’s property with no individual identity which backs up the idea males at the time were viewed as more superior in comparison to females.
Steinbeck’s initial portrayal of Curley’s wife is that of a seductive temptress. ‘she had full, rouged lips, and eyes heavily made up’. Her negative first impression leads the reader to take an instant dislike to her. Section 4 echo’s the idea of Curley’s wife being an evil and troublesome character. The way she uses her social status as a white woman to belittle crooks is significant to the novel as it portrays the racial prejudice that went on at the time. For instance she says to crooks “keep your place then nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny” This quote suggests curley’s wife is a very significant character as its implies how easy bitterness can spiral from loneliness
It soon becomes clear in the novel she uses her beauty as a device to make her husband jealous. Curley has however seen to it that no ranch hand will talk to her without fearing a beating. This prompts ranch hands such as Candy to use language such as ‘tart’ and ‘jailbait’ to describe her, as they wants to avoid trouble and the only way of doing this is by disliking and avoiding conversation with the boss’ sons wife, which leads her to become one of the loneliest people on the ranch.
The failure to escape this sexual image combined with the inability for Curley to satisfy her emotionally encourages her to seek solace with other ranch hands. Her isolation and her desperate attempt to get attention and complimented “feel right around there an’ see how soft it is” brings about her own death at Lennie’s hands. This proves Curley’s wife to be a very significant character as it evidently she was the downfall of