Preview

How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in the novel?

Powerful Essays
Open Document
Open Document
1696 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in the novel?
How does Steinbeck explore different attitudes to women in the novel?

Of Mice and Men was written by John Steinbeck in the mid 1930’s and published in 1937 when America had started to recover from the Wall Street Crash. The 1920's were a 'boom-time' in America, there was plenty of work and money was easily made but the 1930's brought unemployment and poverty. The attitudes to women in his novel are in the main unflattering. Steinbeck depicts them as unintelligent and most of the women in the novel cause some kind of trouble or discomfort for the main characters George and Lennie.

At the beginning of the novel they are on the road traveling to a ranch after having fled from a ranch in Weed. When they arrive they already find a possible source of trouble in the form of Curley's wife. Being attractive and the only woman on the ranch George foresees that Lennie simple minded approach might get him into trouble as it had in their previous job. However Curley's wife doesn't make it easy for them, being married to an unpleasant man she spends her time hanging around the bunk house flirting with the workmen. But despite George trying to keep him out of harms way Lennie's inquisitive nature eventually gets the better of him and so does his strength leaving George with a difficult decision to make.

The only women mentioned in the novel are Curley’s wife, Lennie's Aunt Clara, a girl in Weed and the prostitutes in the 'cat house'. The main female character in the novel is Curley's wife, as she is known to the reader. She has no name, which shows Steinbeck’s disregard for her as an individual, but she is fundamental to the plot development. In a review of the film Of Bindlestiffs, Bad Times, Mice and Men, in 1992 The New York Times interviewed Steinbeck's widow and asked why Steinbeck had never given Curley’s Wife and name and she explained that Steinbeck said “She’s not a person, she's a symbol. She has no function, except to be a foil – and a danger to Lennie." Her

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    John Steinbeck provides a variety of different attitudes towards women in the novel ‘Of Mice and Men.’ I will explore these attitudes in order to represent the portrayal of women in the book; in which there are many different women with different attitudes respectively. Steinbeck uses the portrayal of Curley’s wife, who is the main female protagonist to show how women were treated during the 1930’s ‘Depression era.’ The women I will analyse are Curley’s wife, Aunt Clara, Susy, Clara, The woman in Weed and Curley’s wife’s mother.…

    • 1773 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Depression was one of the most hardfacing time periods of American history. People lost jobs, crash markets dropped, and there wasn’t very much of anything. One thing that happened was women wanted to make a change for once. Being as though they were considered property and had no rights or say up until the Women’s Rights Movement they impacted the Great Depression. In Of Mice and Men reflects the treatment of women during the Great Depression.…

    • 961 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Steinbeck present’s Curley’s wife as the only women in the ranch, who occupies a key role in the novella as the catalyst for much discontent for several of the characters and for the tragic ending, because of this men in the ranch constantly think of her as a ‘trouble maker’. George refers to her as a “poison” and that he has “never seen piece of jailbait worse than her” This suggests that if Lennie gets in trouble with Curley’s wife it’s trouble for the both of them as they will lose the chance of saving some money and buying a place together and their dream will be ruined. This makes the reader think about what Lennie did in Weed for George to be so paranoid about getting in trouble on the ranch. In Weed, Lennie “pets” a girl’s pretty dress and frightens her away which makes George and Lennie run out of town. Steinbeck uses this incident, as well as others, including the petting of the mouse and the death of the puppy at Lennie's hands to foreshadow Curley's wife's death. Curley’s wife is a woman who is sexually charged and treacherous to any man with whom she might be involved with. Later, in the chapter it’s proved that she is a trouble maker and a woman who is treacherous because she destroyed Crooks dream by forcibly reminding him about how powerless he is, because of the fact that he is black and she also destroyed Candy, Lennie and George’s dream with getting herself killed which shows her as an antagonist of the narrative who put an end to everyone’s…

    • 272 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Curley's Wife Analysis

    • 1064 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck portrays the story of two migrant workers, George and Lennie, who are completely different people, but who stick together in the face of discrimination and loneliness. There are many different characters who each have their own hopes and aspirations that are depicted in the book, however one character that stands out is Curley’s wife. At first, the book introduces her as a seductress who dresses extravagantly and wears too much makeup. The men on the ranch say she plays around and they call her names such as “tart” or “jail bait”. She is defined by her role in the book, Curley’s wife. In other words, Curley’s property. She is never given a name throughout the book, only being referred to as Curley’s wife. However, as the book goes on, the reader begins to learn the complexities of Curley’s wife. It is revealed that she has a dream of her own, to be in the movies, and hates being tied down on the ranch. “ ‘Nother time I met a guy, an’…

    • 1064 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    His life revolved around finding work, working, and running from the mischief Lennie created. George wanted nothing more than to live simply and have no worries, but he could never accomplish it. On page 7, George says “I could get along so easy and so nice if I didn’t have you on my tail. I could live so easy and maybe have a girl”. This revealed to the reader George’s true feelings, and that his ambitions in life were not anything too extreme. He knew Lennie was a bit of a burden, but he needed him. For him, it was about being in charge and not having to listen to someone else for once. George faced many obstacles and was not able to make his dream a reality because of what life handed…

    • 591 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck shows his views on women in how he indirectly characterizes the female characters in the story. The main female character…

    • 442 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Flawless skin, small waists, the unattainable idea of perfection. The idea that a woman should be the icon of feminine beauty, a brainless robot that’s great at housework and pleasing their husband. has lasted through generations upon generations, and even continued in the 1930s, when The Great Depression was reeking havoc on everyone’s lives. Instead of letting equally smart women work along side of men to bring the stocks up, they were still told to stay home and be the mothers and wives that they should. This idea continued into Steinbeck’s famous book, Of Mice and Men. Throughout the novel, Steinbeck subtly reiterates his belief that white men are superior to every other race and gender. In my opinion, the misogynistic portrayal of Curley’s…

    • 142 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck, is an intriguing and captivating piece that captures America’s history. Throughout the text, Steinbeck demonstrates how multiple prejudices can affect contrasting characters in the 1930’s. Lennie Small and George Milton, a pair of bindlestiffs, witness the discrimination throughout the course of the novel. George cares for Lennie, who is mentally challenged, and once Lennie’s onerous actions increase, George makes the formidable decision to abruptly end his life. The characters in the story are faced with internal and external conflicts. These are shown for the duration of the text, supporting the theme: prejudice and discrimination can cause isolation. Steinbeck develops this theme through the literary elements, characterization, conflict and imagery.…

    • 335 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In the novel “Of Mice and Men” John Steinbeck tells a story of dreams, hopes and loneliness. We are introduced to a majorly significant and complex Character, named Curley’s wife. Steinbeck shows us that Curley’s wife is flirtatious, mischievous but most of all an isolated character. She plays a main part in the novel; in doing this she displays and presents many of the main themes.…

    • 817 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck explores discrimination in the 1930s through a range of characters. Discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less fairly than others due to something out of their control. The issues of discrimination against women, African Americans and the mentally disabled are demonstrated by the characters Crooks, Curley’s wife and Lennie. These characters are forced to experience a different lifestyle from the average American at the time.…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    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 [.…

    • 1951 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    George warns Lennie to stay away from Curleys wife he says ‘You Leave her be’ he also calls her a ‘rat trap’ this is probably because he knows that she is a flirt and will draw him in and it will end up Lennie getting into trouble like a rat trap will use cheese to draw the rat in and end up in the rat being killed. George also knows that Curley is ‘fisty’ and any trouble with him could lead to them getting in a fight with Curley or being ‘canned’ by the boss which would mean they could not earn the money to fulfil their dream of owning their own land. Candy also says that ‘Curley’s married . . . a tart’ this is probably because of the way she acts and dresses. He knows that she is a flirt and thinks that she will get into any mans pants if presented with a chance. This may also be because he is old and his traditional stereotype of women is that in a marriage they should stay home clean and cook for their partners and not be out talking and flirting with other men most of the time as he could think that she has only one man to satisfy which is her…

    • 892 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men does not portray women very respectively. Curley’s wife walks the ranch as a seductress. Bored, lonely and always looking for her husband, Curley. When we first encounter her appearance, Steinbeck describes her as having ‘full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up’ this is a prime example of her superfluous character. She is flirtatious and her body language is provocative. Before Curley’s wife makes her first appearance, her personality is emphasised by Candy who gives us a prejudice description of her. “Purty, but... she got the eye”. This shows us that she is attractive though isn’t very loyal and will flirt with anyone. She wears too much makeup and is proud of her hair, “don’t muss it up” – I believe she uses her looks to get attention. Curley’s wife also seems to be obsessed with the colour red – ‘rouged lips… red mules… little bouquets of red ostrich feathers’. Red is the only colour used to describe her and is associated with sex and danger, but also links her to the girl in Weed with the red dress – Steinbeck’s hint that Lennie might hurt Curley’s wife, too.…

    • 1286 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    In the John Steinbeckâs novel âof Mice and Menâ he introduces us to the character of Curleyâs wife. She could be interpreted as a mis-fitting character in the novel as no one relates to her. Steinbeck relates her to how women were powerless during 1930âs and makes her seem desperately lonely and isolated from the others on the ranch. She has sexual power which she uses to get to the men on the ranch and she just needs someone to talk to. She dislikes her husband and had a desire to become a movie star. She is not seem as an individual and has no name. This shows how a woman belonged to their husband. This essay is going to examine in detail how Curleyâs wife has been presented in this novel.…

    • 391 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the book “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck, they lack women and the women that are in the book are not treated as equals. In the whole book only one women is presented and only two women are talked abou. The one woman in the book is cheated on, the men visit prostitutes on the weekends, and the women do not have names. When the men talk about women they talk as if they were just property, as if they are not even people nor do they have any feelings.…

    • 535 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays