Curley’s Wife: Victim or Floozy?
Curley’s Wife is a character in the novel Of Mice and Men. She represents several themes in the novel, the American dream, loneliness and friendship. Her dream is to become a Hollywood actress but like most dreams it does not come true which has made her hard and mean. Curley, her husband, gives her no emotional support and treats her like a sex object rather than his wife which leads her to seek attention from other men and gives her a flirtatious air. She befriends Lennie because she feels that he still has his kindness about him and thinks of him as a ‘big baby’. She also refers to Candy, Crooks and Lennie as the ‘weak ones’ whilst she is talking to them and ‘liken it’ because there’s no one else. She plays a big part in the tragic end of the novel because she was the reason George killed Lennie. Her need for attention resulted in her death and because Lennie was the one that killed her, it made George realise that Lennie could not be controlled and will probably go on 8to as Curley’s Wife. This symbolises that she is no more than property to Curley; it illustrates how unimportant she is on the ranch and in society in the 1930s and it also allows the reader the opportunity to consider her character more. By not giving her a name Steinbeck is actually being ironic by showing that she is unimportant; yet really she is the catalyst for the tragic end. This essay will discuss how Curley’s wife is portrayed and how she is viewed by the other characters in the novel. Curley’s Wife has been described as ‘a tart’ by Candy, ‘purty’ by Lennie and a ‘piece of jail bait’ by George. Before she is even introduced in the novel, Candy has already described her as a ‘tart’ Steinbeck did this to prejudice the reader so that we have an immediate opinion about her before she has even appeared. From this point, Steinbeck begins to challenge and change the reader’s opinion of her. Her attitude towards the other men on the ranch is flirty and...
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