Victimizing the Tart
What does a person think when they are labeled? No matter bad or good, the reaction is always significant. There is a plethora of interesting characters in the novel Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, but some of them stand out more than others. One of these outstanding characters is Curley’s Wife. Curley’s Wife may not seem to be a character of any importance, given the fact that she does not receive an actual name, however she controls a copious amount of the plot. Some argue that Curley’s Wife is a villain, and some argue that she is a victim. Although Curley’s Wife attracts attention to herself, she is a victim in the ranch due to the fact that she is in a loveless marriage, and her version of the American dream was crushed.
Granted that Curley’s Wife is mainly seen as a victim of multiple discriminations, one who was opposing the idea of the victimization of Curley's Wife could attach her to certain villainous characteristics. Curley’s Wife is given no name in this novel besides the ones that the men on the ranch call her. Names like “Tart”, “Rat Trap”, and “Tramp”, are the ones that the men define her as. We can see early on in the story that Curley’s Wife lives up to these nicknames when she enters the bunkhouse for the first time, “She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up” (Steinbeck 31). In this portion of the story, Curley’s Wife is given an image, and it is the image of a woman who is seeking attention. She uses the attention she receives to manipulate the men who work on the ranch. This is not the only villainous quality Curley’s Wife has; she is also very harsh towards some of the ranch workers, especially Crooks the black stable buck. We see the racist attitude that Curley’s Wife exerts upon Crooks when she claims, “’Well, you keep your place then, nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny’” (Steinbeck 81). Curley’s Wife threatens to have Crooks lynched, all because he...
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