How Does John Steinbeck Present the Character of Curlys Wife

Topics: John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Great Depression Pages: 3 (1324 words) Published: September 26, 2012
How does John Steinbeck present Curley’s wife in “Of mice and men”?  
John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is set in 1930’s America during the Great Depression and gives the reader a glimpse of the hardships of life back then and the social oppression. The theme running throughout the book is of a friendship between two men amidst dreams that they have, and of dreams being crushed. Curley’s wife is an important character in the book. John Steinbeck presents her in different ways throughout the novel and uses different techniques to manipulate the reader’s opinion, for example through her appearance.  For the large part she is described in a negative way as a dangerous, flirtatious character which could be construed as a reflection of the way society viewed the role of women in the novel.  However later in the book Steinbeck manipulates the reader into seeing her as complex, and feeling sympathy for Curley’s wife portraying her as a victim, desperate and isolated in a man’s world. This essay will illustrate how Steinbeck cleverly attempts to alter our opinion of Curley’s wife during the book. John Steinbeck first presents the character of Curley’s wife when she is introduced to the reader through gossip on the ranch. Curley is said to have his “glove fulla Vaseline” to keep soft for his wife. This portrays how Curley’s wife is merely on the ranch for Curley to show the workers that he’s is married and how Curley’s wife is shown as his trophy. In addition to this, the workers refer to her using offensive names such as “tart,” which is a derogatory term and has obvious negative connotations. As she is only referred to by names like that it shows how she is not well thought of on the ranch. However, this also disgusts the reader and suggests how Curley’s wife is a floozy and is used as a sexual object. Curley’s wife is first presented to us on page 49 of the book.  “Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. A girl was standing...
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