On the ranch there is a well known woman merely referred to as ‘Curley’s Wife’. As the characters develop we find that she is not in fact the unimportant, nameless character we first perceive her as, but rather she is a relatively complex one, with much more to her than we first gather, causing us to feel sympathy for her later in the novel. In this essay I will state how John Steinbeck influenced the reader to feel sympathy for Curley's wife, especially after making the reader prejudice towards her.
Steinbeck creates sympathy for Curley's wife in numerous ways, one being her name. The fact that she never has a name outside of the reference to her husband clearly shows the reader that her identity is surrendered to a heartless husband. Evidence of this is when she admits that her husband 'aint a nice man' and that she never truly wanted to marry him. This leaves the reader with a impression of a unhappy, isolated woman to the extent that there is sympathy regardless of her outrageous behavior towards Crooks. Alternatively, the lack of a name for this woman could could suggest she is insignificant and not as important of a character as George, Lennie or any of the other men on the ranch. It could also be referring to how during the Great Depression, women were oppressed and treated less equally. Steinbeck may have portrayed Curley's wife in this light to allow the reader to recognize the inferior role of women at that time. The lack of name relegates Curley's wife to an insignificant status like a lot of women in a 1930s society.
Steinbeck enables the reader to see Curley’s Wife through migrant worker Candy’s eyes on their first encounter her, as in his dialogue he refers to her as a 'tart'. Through his words, we develop an initial perception of Curley's Wife as as a bit of a 'floozie'. Furthermore, Candy effectively accuses her of acting disloyal to her newly married husband Curley by saying, 'she got