How Does Steinbeck Present Curley's Wife in of Mice and Men

Topics: John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Great Depression Pages: 3 (1286 words) Published: March 2, 2013
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men does not portray women very respectively. Curley’s wife walks the ranch as a seductress. Bored, lonely and always looking for her husband, Curley. When we first encounter her appearance, Steinbeck describes her as having ‘full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up’ this is a prime example of her superfluous character. She is flirtatious and her body language is provocative. Before Curley’s wife makes her first appearance, her personality is emphasised by Candy who gives us a prejudice description of her. “Purty, but... she got the eye”. This shows us that she is attractive though isn’t very loyal and will flirt with anyone. She wears too much makeup and is proud of her hair, “don’t muss it up” – I believe she uses her looks to get attention. Curley’s wife also seems to be obsessed with the colour red – ‘rouged lips… red mules… little bouquets of red ostrich feathers’. Red is the only colour used to describe her and is associated with sex and danger, but also links her to the girl in Weed with the red dress – Steinbeck’s hint that Lennie might hurt Curley’s wife, too. Her relationship with others isn’t very positive at all. She approaches the men at the ranch under the pretext of looking for her husband, “Any you boys seen Curley?”, although it is apparent that she just wants to flirt with them. These men call her “rattrap” and “jail bait”, though this turns out to be true as Lennie is lured by her. They also call her a “God damn tramp”; the men are disgusted by her using her sexuality to get attention. It’s mainly Candy who calls her these things, for example, “tart” this word suggests that she presents herself in a flamboyant manner. No one seems to care about her, not even Curley – when he finds his wife dead, he decides to kill Lennie instead of staying with her. “I’m gonna kill that big son of a bitch. I’ll shoot him in the guts. Come on you guys.” - I got the impression that he sounded almost excited when he...
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