How does Steinbeck present Curly’s wife as an outsider?
During the 1930’s life in America for women was difficult due to work places for women being scarcer resulting in unemployment and leading to women being marginalised. In ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck the role of Curly’s wife is one of great importance and leads to the misunderstanding of the two disenfranchised characters; Lennie and Curly’s wife. Similarly to the other characters, Curly’s wife is correspondingly presented as an outsider and appears to be the most pathetic of them all. Throughout the novel Curly’s wife’s name remains anonymous highlighting the way in which women at the time were treated; that women had limited freedom and should fulfil the domestic ideal. By not giving a name, Curly’s wife is objectified and is presented as a typical trophy wife; metaphorically chained to the ranch. The reader first encounters Curly’s wife during chapter two when “the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”. Although she has not been introduced a negative image is cast, instantly portraying her as unwanted. Steinbeck continuously uses the colour red to describe Curly’s wife; “she had full rouged lips”, “her fingernails were red” and she wore “red mules”, implying that she is danger; likewise to the girl in Weed who was also dressed in red. Already Curly’s wife is presented as an outsider, for although the reader does not know her she immediately seems undesirable. Curly’s wife is a woman trapped in a man’s world and is seen by many as “jail bait” and a “rattrap”. By using these insults Steinbeck has made it clear that within the group of men of outsiders, she is the principal outsider of all. Desperate for companionship which she doesn’t receive from Curly, she flirts with the other ranch-hands; her opening line being “any you guys seen Curly?” this shows that she is alone and even though she tries she is unable to seek someone to relate to. Her inappropriate style and manner brand her as...
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