How Curley's Wife Is Presented as a Villian

Topics: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, Great Depression Pages: 5 (1876 words) Published: December 14, 2011
One of the ways Steinbeck shows Curley’s Wife as a villain is by portraying her as a tart. In chapter two, Candy quotes “Well, I think Curley’s married . . . . A tart.” In this chapter she is presented negatively, he uses his context to show she is a trouble maker and an attention seeker. The fact candy has labeled her a tart so soon makes us assume she is the villain in this novel. In the same chapter it is written ‘She had full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung up in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules. ’ This quote shows she is covered in red – the colour of the devil – therefore she holds the characteristics of a devil too with an evil and manipulating personality. All of these traits are characteristic of clothing and cosmetics that might be worn by a prostitute – someone who often leads men on. The outcome makes the reader believe she is a villain as it has been established from the very start. However, red also represents the colour of love and passion, showing us she is the total opposite of what we assume. She is pre-judged by the other men when they don’t know a thing about her, she might be an innocent and sweet girl but they do not see beyond the outer exterior of her. When she is first introduced in the book, she is seemed as the one to blame for everything that goes wrong. Chapter two: ‘Both men glanced up, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. A girl was standing there looking in.’ The light – representing hope and reams - is cut off by her shadow, she casts a shadow over their George and Lennie’s dream., This foreshadows the death of their dream and her involvement in this; it is also significant as she appears just after George and Lennie have discussed their plans if they get involved in any trouble. Although, she could be seen as an angel, the light is shining behind her and she is the key to happiness. In this quote the forces of good and the forces of evil come into conflict. This makes us wonder whether she is an angel or devil but I think it’s our own interpretations that confirm our thoughts of her. Throughout the book we see a spiteful side to her; in chapter 4 she speaks to Crooks saying ‘Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it aint even funny.’ This was the first time Crooks had opened up out of his shell for the only to get knocked back down by Curley’s wife. “Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego’ Our sympathy automatically goes towards Crooks, he means nothing to Curley’s wife and she shows that by using racism, stating the most obvious; the colour of his skin and stereotyping all black men as sexual predators. In spite of this, we could also feel sorry for her too as she is being targeted by Candy and Crooks telling her to get out and that she is not wanted here. The only way she feels secure again is to fight back by verbally abusing them back to their place and claiming the authority she thinks she holds. Anything she does, including her death, somehow affects everyone around her. Chapter 5 concludes her role in the book, Candy says ‘You done it, di’nt you? I s’pose you’re glad. Ever’body knowed you’d mess things up. You wasn’t no good. You aint no good now, you lousy tart.’ She ruined the chances of George, Lennie & Candy getting their own land, she lead Lennie to his death and because of this we feel pity and sorrow for the unfulfilled desires caused. This makes us believe and blame Curley’s wife for everything bad happening and her encouraging Lennie. Despite this, it shows her victimization, even in her death she is still getting cursed upon. In such circumstances there is no sympathy to be felt by the ranch workers as they’re thoughts are only concentrating on the mess she has caused for Lennie. ‘Is Curley’s Wife presented as a villain or a victim in John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice...
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