How does Steinbeck present the character of Curley in Of Mice and Men?
In Of Mice and Men Steinbeck mainly presents Curley as a mean person who wants authority on the ranch. Although this makes Curley a more hated character, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that Curley is only mean as a result of being lonely. This loneliness of Curley was typical of men on ranches in 1930s America.
Curley wants to get more authority on the ranch. When we first see Curley, he is described as closing his hands "into fists" and stiffening his back "into a slight crouch" after looking at Lennie, showing the reader that Curley wants more authority over him. This makes the reader feel slightly uneasy as it hints that Curley may do something which will affect George and Lennie's dream later in the novel.
Steinbeck also presents Curley as being an aggressive character. For example, Curley is quick to pick a fight with Lennie in Section Three of the novel. Steinbeck uses words like "slashed" to describe Curley's strength and aggressiveness. The reader feels anger towards Curley at this point as he attacks Lennie simply because he was being intimidated by the others. This shows the reader two things: that Curley is aggressive (because of the fight he picks with Lennie) and that Curley wants to be more respected (as Curley may have just been fighting Lennie to show the other ranchers that he's not a man who is easily intimidated and picked on).
Although Curley is married, Steinbeck makes it clear to the reader that Curley has no emotions towards his wife. After the death of Curley's wife, Curley does not touch his wife nor does he stay with her. This suggests to the reader that Curley kept his wife purely for his sexual desires, just like many men in 1930s America. This further increases the hatred towards Curley, as it shows the reader that Curley did not respect nor love his wife. The fact that Curley mentions he has only one hand shows the reader that the only reason...
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