Significance of Aunt Clara in of Mice and Men

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Significance of Aunt Clara in Of Mice and Men
Aunt Clara is a very important figure in Of Mice and Men, representing the idea of women as a motherly figure, a stereotype which was commonly viewed as acceptable by the Ranchworkers at the time. Although she isn’t present in the novel, she is one of the mentioned characters through both George and Lennie’s references to her as well as within Lennie’s daydreams, where she chastises him for the problems he imposes upon George. Aunt Clara is shown to be a vital figure in Steinbeck’s presentation of women as she is presented as a contrast to Curley’s wife, who fits neither category of accepted women as a motherly figure or a prostitute, represented through the mentioned character of Susy. She is described to wear ‘a huge gingham apron,’ opposing the provocative appearance of Curley’s wife, adding to her viewing as ‘jailbait’ and a ‘tart.’ She is first introduced in Chapter 1 where Lennie remembers how ‘that woman’ used to give him mice, unable to remember who the woman was, showing his childlike character. We see that she is a nurturing figure through how she constantly cared for Lennie and made George promise to look after him when she was gone, ensuring that he was always safe, adding to the stereotypical view of a motherly woman. Therefore, she is a vital figure conveying the single- minded views of the ranchworkers, showing one of the reasons Curley’s wife was isolated by the men, who viewed her as a ‘rattrap,’ designed to get them sacked from their job, or even worse, lynched.
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