Section 5 with Lennie.
In section 5 in the novella, although we still expect Curley’s wife to be dangerous and troublemaking figure she is presented as a maternal figure towards Lennie with her interactions with him. She is also presented as venerable and a victim of society. In this chapter she doesn’t have to defend herself because she is not being excluded or challenged.
Curley’s wife’s body language contrasts with that of section 2 because it is comforting and friendly. An example of this is when Steinbeck writes ‘She knelt in the hay beside him’. This shows that she is reducing herself to his level so that they are considered equal beings and it also encourages Lennie to trust her and get him to listen to her.
Another phrase that shows her maternal nature is when Steinbeck writes ‘She consoled him “Don’t you worry none. He was jus’ a mutt’”. This shows that she is trying to make a connection with Lennie and reassure him. She treats him as a child and this shows that although she has a temperamental personality she doesn’t mean to cause trouble and conflict between the ranch workers, she is just trying to cope with a life that she didn’t chose.
Steinbeck forces the reader to alter their perception on Curley’s wife throughout this chapter. She starts to act sincere and we begin to feel that we have finally met the real Curley’s wife. She is no longer represented as a sexual figure and starts to show her emotions. It makes us feel like she wants to love and to be loved.
We begin to see Curley’s wife’s motherly nature when Steinbeck writes ‘She moved closer to him and she spoke soothingly’. Although this expresses her motherly tendencies it also outlines her first mistake. Curley’s wife misplaces her trust in people. She believes people that she hardly knows and hurts herself in the process. Also, although she is consoling Lennie, she is presented as a victim of what Lennie might do.
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