Of Mice and Men-Curleys Wife

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How does Steinbeck use language and structure to portray curleys wife?

Firstly, her first description is in chapter two just after George and lennie have arrived on the ranch. When we first read her description we realise she is all dressed in red, she wore “red mules”, “red ostrich feathers” and her “finger nails were red”. The author uses this symbolic language technique to help us understand that red is associated with danger in the book. This suggests that she is someone to be avoided. The text also states she is “heavily made up”, this suggests that she is trying to get attention off over men on the ranch. Secondly, after Curley’s wife leaves, she is called many mean things by some of the ranch workers like “bitch”, “poison”, “tramp” and “jail bait”. This makes us feel prejudice against Curley’s wife. She is shown as a microcosm of how woman were treat in the 1930’s. Thirdly, George tells slim about what Lennie did in weed and how he grabbed the girls “red dress”. This relates the girl in weed to Curley’s wife as she is also dressed in red. This makes us prepared for something similar to happen. Steinbeck used this foreshadowing structure to create suspense and to add tension to the story and to show Curley’s wife as someone to be avoided. Fourthly, Steinbeck states again that Curley’s wife is “heavily made up”. Steinbeck uses this language device (repetition) to confirm the fact that Curley’s wife always wants attention off the boys on the ranch. As we have already met pugnacious Curley, there is now another possible reason she is putting lots of make up on. It could be that she wants attention, but also that she is trying to hide bruises that she could have got of Curley. Fifthly, throughout the novella, Curley and his wife are looking for each other, but for the wrong reasons. Curley’s looking for his wife to make sure she’s not with other men and she is looking for him so that she can avoid him as in chapter 2 after slim says I “seen him goin’ in your...
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