Steinbecks Present and Development of the Character Curly

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How does Steinbeck present and develop the character of Curly’s wife in ‘Of Mice and Men’? 1) In the beginning of “Of Mice and Men” we readers are made to perceive Curly’s wife as a vain, trouble making bully who provokes people and intends on bringing their anger out, especially Lennie and is incapable of seeing the world from any perspective other than her own. We then realise by the end of the novel that she is only a sweet, innocent woman who just wanted to be cherished and wasn’t able to reach her dreams.

2) Steinbeck introduces Curly’s wife for the first time as a “girl” and not a women. This implies that she only appears to the people on the ranch as a young a naïve person. You could also interpret her being called a girl into not being respected by anyone. This could be seen as quiet odd as although she is the boss’s son’s wife she still hasn’t gained any respect from the men on the ranch. We are made extremely aware that she isn’t respected on the ranch when the men refer to her as “jailbait”, “tramp”, “tart”, “bitch” and at one point is even referred to as a “loo loo”, lulu also being the name of the dog on the ranch which could again reinforce the idea that they see her as unimportant and invaluable.

3) As we look into her being called a girl, it emphasises the fact that she is also vulnerable but she attempts to mask this by presenting herself in a seductive and flirtatious manner, i.e. being “heavily made up” & wearing the colour red quiet often as Steinbeck describes her as wearing “red mules” and “full rouged lips”. Some readers could choose to perceive this as again being seductive whereas others may see this as red being associated with danger, with the idea developing throughout the novella.

4) Now although Steinbeck refers to her as heavily made up and vulnerable, the readers’ ideas may begin to change as we notice references in the book which make her appear unattractive both physically and mentally. Steinbeck refers...
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