How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife to the reader? What is her importance in the novel?
In order to discuss how Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife to the reader one would determine that many readers would interpret her character and importance in many diversified ways. In this essay, one must elaborate on Steinbeck’s true definition of the one and only female in the novel.
First and foremost other females in the novel are mentioned but not greeted with a presence like Curley’s wife. A girl that Lennie scares in ‘Weed’ is mentioned in a past tense and most importantly Lennie’s Aunt Clara is mentioned several times where sometimes she can be perceived as the absent centre. Nonetheless the reader is finally graced with Aunt Clara’s presence towards the end of the novel as an imaginary figure to Lennie’s symbolic vision.
Be that as it may, Curley’s wife is the only female character that the reader is properly acknowledged with. As she is the only female in the novel which is set in a mans world, one would come to the conclusion that Curley’s wife is possibly the loneliest character in the novel. Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as a lonely character by reason of her being introduced through the view point of other characters. In other words she is used as a product of gossip [.
Candy, the old Swamper, will attempt to entertain George and Lennie by making harsh accusations about her at Curley’s wife expense. She is presented as a flirt with loose sexual morals. “She got the eye”. She’s “Jail Bait”. As the ranchers have these subjected views of her they believe the famous saying ‘The female of the species is more deadly that the male.’
In Curley’s wife case, it is simply not true. She is extremely lonely and therefore craves the attention of other men just so that she can be stimulated by innocent conversation, nothing more. “Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely”. This is evidence enough of