How Does Steinbeck Present Curly's Wife

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Novella Pages: 1 (370 words) Published: July 8, 2012
Curley's wife is one of the most significant characters in John Steinbeck's novel "Of mice and men," although we never learn her name. We learn about her through her own words and actions and also through other characters' descriptions and opinions of her. Before Curley's wife makes her first appearance, she is introduced to us through Candy's opinion of her. He tells George that, although she has only been married to Curley for two weeks, she has already "got the eye." He also describes he as "a tart" that has been flirting with both Slim and Carlson. Curley's wife's first appearance is dramatic. She suddenly appears in the open doorway, cutting off the bright sunlight, as if she has brought the darkness with her. The reader is already influenced by Candy's description of her so that when Steinbeck describes her as having "full rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up" we see this as confirmation of her being "a tart." Equally, it could simply mean that she takes pride in her appearance and tries to get noticed. However, she does flaunt herself " she smiled archly and twisted her body" and is clearly aware that Lennie is fascinated with her. George's first impression of Curley's wife is that she is "a tramp" and the worst "piece of jail-bait" he has ever seen. Later in the novel, the young ranch hand Whit also tells George that he thinks Curley's wife flaunts her body and has "got the eye goin' all the time on everybody." He agrees with George that she is trouble. Steinbeck gives us a more direct insight into Curley's wife's character in the scene when she meets Candy, Lennie and Crooks in Crooks' room. She sneers at the men, telling them that men are afraid to talk to her when there is more than one of them present, "You're all scared of each other, that's what." When she says, "They left all the weak ones here" she may mean it as an insult, but she also seems to accept that she is one of "the weak ones" who has been left behind, because she knows...
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