Curley’s wife is a pivotal character and central to the plot. Her role as a catalyst proves to be essential as it creates a chain of reactions within other characters, creating action for the reader. Even more tension is created as her downward relationship with Curley is full of conflict. She is not given an identity, and from this, we are led to believe that she has no status or power. She is called Curley’s wife and from this we assume she is a possession of Curley. This creates a distance between her and the reader. In the 1930's, throughout the Great Depression, the social status of women was quite low. Men did not take women seriously and the major role of women was to cook, clean, and raise the children. Curley's wife is a ideal example of how women were viewed in the early 20th century. With women having such a low social status during the Great Depression, Curley's jealously, and Curley's wife being portrayed as trouble, it becomes quite difficult for her to overcome her loneliness.
Before we even meet Curley’s wife we are led to believe that she is a ‘flirt’ and a tart’. We gather this from Candy’s presentation of her and his comment, “Well I think Curley’s married...a tart.” Candy is used by John Stienback as a plot device; he introduces all of the main characters and has an opinion about them.
Curley’s prejudiced view is seemingly confirmed through Curley’s wife’s first appearance. We first see Curley’s wife in chapter 2, she is dressed in red. Red usually indicates danger. “She had full rouged lips... Her finger nails were red...red ostrich feathers on her shoes.” This also brings across the stereotypical view that women drag men into sin. The way she is dressed indicates she is an outsider, as the clothes she is wearing aren’t suitable for work on the ranch. She is an outsider as she is shown “looking in”.
Her body language is deliberately provocative when she