Curleys Wife

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How Does Steinbeck Present the Character of Curley’s Wife?

In this essay I am going to discuss how Steinbeck presents the character of Curley’s Wife. We learn that Curley’s Wife is presented as both a dangerous character but also a lonely character. She is both innocent and guilty. The reader is left with the impression that the men have pre judged her to be a seductive ‘tart’, when in fact she is simply a victim of her own loneliness. Steinbeck pre-warns the reader by having Candy warn George about Curley’s Wife. Candy’s first description of Curley’s Wife is ‘Married two weeks and got the eye’ already from this phrase we can tell that Curley’s Wife isn’t going to get much attention the ranch isn’t the place for a women. We can guess that Curley’s Wife’s loneliness is going to get the men into a lot of trouble from her ‘tarty’ ways. She doesn’t realise this as maybe she has never known anything different, because perhaps that is what she has been taught growing up. However, we know she just simply wants a friendship with anyone but because of the men’s prejudice, she is never going to be able to talk to someone without them thinking ‘she has the eye’. Steinbeck describes her in physical terms that emphasises her sexual attractiveness and she uses this to tease and flirt with the men. Curley’s Wife knows her beauty is the only way to having any power at all. Her ‘full rouged lips’ and ‘red mules with ostrich feathers’ suggests she likes to dress in red, the supposed colour of seduction and danger. This implies that throughout the book we will start to notice how Curley’s Wife will cause great danger to all the men on the ranch, especially Lennie. Steinbeck’s description of her when she first appears suggests that she is clear overdressed for the ranch, ‘her fingernails were red’ suggesting she is too ‘heavily made up’ for a working ranch, implying she shouldn’t really be there because it isn’t the right place for a woman like her. However the reason for her...
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