How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife’s’ desires in the book ‘Of Mice and Men’?
John Steinbeck’s novella, ‘Of Mice and Men’ depicts the struggle of two wayward men during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Although a variety of characters in the story are presented as the out casts of society, Curley’s wife is perhaps the character in which readers feel most sympathetic towards. Essentially, Curley’s wife represents the image of all women in the society in which Steinbeck lived.
Society in the 1930’s discriminated heavily against women; they were essentially objects, whose sole purpose in life was to serve their husbands, objects that were to be simply seen, and not heard. Steinbeck presents the female genders lack of identity and individuality in 1930’s society by deliberately not naming Curley’s wife. Her missing a name emphasizes her second-class citizenship. The woman has no name because she is just an object, the "property" of someone else. Curley’s wife is deemed unimportant, victimized as a direct result of her gender, the majority of male characters in the novel have names, even Crooks; the stable buck, who because of his race is probably viewed as being beneath Curley’s wife in terms of society’s classification. Curley's wife can only be seen in reference to her husband, who (supposedly) owns and controls her body, and by extension, her.
Curley’s wife desires attention above all other dreams. As the only female on the ranch, she has no one she could relate to and is presented by Steinbeck to be incredibly isolated and shrouded in feelings of loneliness. She appears to present a facade on the ranch, burying her isolation with boldness and femininity ‘ She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages’. She continuously uses the excuse of looking for Curley as a means of extracting some sort of communication with others on the...
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