Of Mice and Men Analysis

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Explore the way Curley’s wife is presented and developed in ‘Of Mice and Men’ In this essay I will be exploring how Curley’s wife is presented and developed in John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men, which is set in 1930s America and focuses on the lives of the workers on Tyler Ranch. Curley’s wife is the only female on the ranch and Steinbeck examines how a hostile woman in a male dominated environment is portrayed, and then delves into her life and discovers the lonely, isolated little girl abandoned to live a life of a possession for a man who doesn’t even allow her to be known as something other than “Curley’s wife.” Before Curley’s wife’s first appearance in the novel, the reader already has a negative image of her in their mind. Candy comments to George that “Curley’s cockier’n ever since he got married.” This suggests that Curley’s wife has to be a special, flawless woman for Curley to be so conceited and proud of himself for wedding her. But the way she is described and Curley’s reaction to marrying her is perceived to be negative as Curley is shown to be feeling superiority over others when it is claimed that “he’s showin’ off for his wife.” This leads to the reader assuming she is a bad influence on someone who is already quite arrogant as he is the boss’s son too. And as George and Candy continue to gossip it is revealed that Curley’s wife gives other people “the eye” and the swamper’s view of her is clear as he ends by calling her “a tart.” The distasteful word “tart” implies that she presents herself in a flamboyant manner, which portrays her desperation to be noticed. This leads to the reader creating a judgement of Curley’s wife before she even arrives in the novel, and emphasises how patriarchal the society was in the 1930s and how women were easily judged without even being seen. Candy’s perception of Curley’s wife is further emphasised when she makes her first appearance in the novel. Steinbeck uses language to present the although alluring,...
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