Of Mice and Men

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‘Of Mice and Men’

In John Steinbeck’s novella ‘Of Mice and Men’, set in the 1930s, it presents a negative view on women. Throughout the course of the book, the women are treated with contempt. Steinbeck highlights that women are generally troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. He shows a prime example of this destructive tendency with Curley’s wife, who flaunts around the ranch as a temptress. In the novella, Steinbeck introduces us to limited, rather misogynistic, descriptions of women who are either dead material figures or prostitutes with Aunt Clara and Suzy. The portrayal of women in Of Mice of Men is limited and unflattering. Of Mice and Men depicts very few women, which shouldn't be surprising considering the characters with whom the novel is concerned. The book is dominated by male characters which reflect the patriarchal society that America was in 1930s. Steinbeck uses structure and language to convey his characters and opinions to the reader.

The main women in the novel stands to be Curley’s wife, despite Steinbeck’s rendering, she emerges as a relatively complex and interesting character. Her role is rather simple in the book’s opening pages as she is referred as a “tramp”, “bitch” and “tart” from Candy. She is illustrated to be the person that threatens to destroy the male happiness and longevity. Women were known as a temptation and a threat to men “quote from page 52”. Curley’s wife is shown as incongruous on a working ranch because she is a women and being so Steinbeck creates her appearance of a fiery character to show her flirtatious, passionate and attention seeking side. Although her character and personality has an impact on the male relationships, she isn’t given a name which portrays her low status in society that people refer to her as a possession that belongs to Curley hence ‘Curley’s Wife’. This applied to all women who were around at the time. She is a domestic figure - after all, she is married to Curley...
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