Of MIce and Men: Curley's Wife

Powerful Essays
Why is Curley’s wife never given a personal name? Names have been an important facet of society for as long as Homo sapiens have existed. A name is defined as “a word or symbol used in logic to designate an entity.” In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck teaches a lesson about the nature of human existence and shows how grim and isolated people become without hope. Steinbeck neglects to address Curley’s wife’s character by name in order to emphasize her position as a literary element and provide commentary on society in the time period during which he lived. Curley’s wife is never named because Steinbeck wished to emphasize the ubiquitous dislike of her throughout the farm. Whilst reading the novella, it is implied that no one on the farm likes Curley’s wife. However, there isn’t necessarily a flaw in her personality from which this aversion to her stems. The characters avoid interaction with her because they fear retribution from her possessive, short-tempered husband. The men on the farm begin to foster hatred toward her because her constant need for attention puts their livelihoods in danger. The men can’t ever get too familiar with her because they are distanced by the fact that she is Curley’s wife. Steinbeck constantly reminds the readers and the characters in the book of this fact by denying her a proper name. Second in the litany of reasons why Curley’s wife remains unnamed throughout the entire novella is that Steinbeck wishes to superimpose over the entire story the idea that she was a possession of Curley's and not an independent entity. During the course of the novella, we run across multiple instances in which Curley is angered by even the idea of his wife consorting with other men, even in a platonic manner. As previously stated, Curley would even resort to firing men if he was unpleased with the way the interacted with his wife. The reader is able to draw a parallel between the way Curley treats and acts toward his wife and the way someone would

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    John Steinbeck’s famous novella Of Mice and Men depicts the harsh and repressive treatment faced by women, people of color, farm workers and those with mental handicaps in the 1930s. Curley’s wife, the only prominent female character in the novel, is looked down upon by the farmworkers, who see her as trouble and a tart. The curls of her hair are described twice as being like “little sausages” subtly alluding to the fact the women of her time were viewed as pieces of meat. They were commodities,…

    • 427 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    alvinayingh... Student High School - 10th Grade eNoter Up 3 Down Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife to present the theme of loneliness in Of Mice and Men. Her real name is never revealed in the story, showing that she has never been considered as a real person with an identity of her own. In fact, Steinbeck depicts women as troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad- Curley’s bad temper has only worsen since their marriage. Her purpose in the book is rather simple- she is a ‘tramp’,…

    • 326 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Gifted Literature 17 December 2013 Curley’s Wife: A Deeper Insight Curley’s wife is stuck living on a ranch with no other women during the Great Depression. She is called many names such as “tart”, but she is never given a formal name besides Curley’s wife. Although Curley’s wife acts promiscuous and mean, she is actually suffering from loneliness. In Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife is defined as Curley’s wife and nothing more than that. Living on a ranch with all men, her husband rarely even acknowledges…

    • 807 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    S5L2 Of Mice and Men Chapter 4 Joanna Vitiello, S4fra Thursday 8th November 2012 Writing: The Character of Curley's Wife Curley's wife is the only women in the ranch, as we learned from the previous chapters, and is not given a name as she is seen as Curley's property. First destined to be an actress as she recounts to Lennie, Candy and Crooks, her chances were taken away by her mother who thought she was too young and she so ended up at the ranch by marrying Curley, concerned…

    • 322 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    John introduced us to a character called Curley's wife, she plays a complex and misfit character as she got so many different sides to her, as sometimes the reader feels sympathetic and unsympathetic about her. John Steinbeck's novel of Mice and Men is an example of how the reader's perception of a character can change without the character actually changing. Steinbeck uses many different techniques to present Curley's wife such as colour imagery, appearance, metaphors and similes in the early…

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    When Curley’s wife is first introduced in the novella, the audience is presented with her rigid personality. Very soon the reader learns how Curley’s wife is not the least bit respected by anyone on the ranch including her own husband, Curley. Candy mentions, “‘Curley says he’s keepin’ that hand soft for his wife’ ” (Steinbeck 27). Evidently, Curley does not love his wife nor does he respect her because if he did, he would not be advertising their personal lives in this manner. As a result, Curley’s…

    • 315 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Dafalla I HAVE USED MY NOTES TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS Part A) What methods does Steinbeck use to present Curley’s wife? In the passage the first words that Steinbeck uses are that “Both men glanced up,” and through this we are introduced to Curley’s wife through her effect on men and not through any notion of herself, which Steinbeck does to show us she is only worthy for the use of men. Not so long after in the sentence we are told “the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway way cut off.” Here…

    • 1816 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    One of the loneliest characters in Of Mice and Man is Curley’s wife. The reasons its believe this is because every time she looks for someone to talk to she put down and told many things."I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely."(Pg.80). She is also the only woman on the ranch and has nobody who will talk to her including her husband."What's the matter with me? Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody?"(Pg.81) Her sexuality isolates her from the other characters And is known as many things…

    • 161 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Explore how Curley’s wife is affected by Prejudice The other men call her and treat her like a tart. She is often demeaned and made to feel oppressed. One way in which I believe she is oppressed is by the way she’s not given a name, just referred to as Curley’s Wife, Curley’s property. “I ain’t used to living like this”, this quotation suggests that she is sick of being made to stay at home all day and just clean, cook and do all the chores around the house. I believe that Curley’s wife also feels…

    • 555 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    EXPLORE THE SIGNIFICANCE AND ROLE OF MINOR CHARACTER IN ‘OF MICE AND MEN’ ‘Of mice and men’ is set during the Great Depression. When a Dust Bowl in the 1930s, which vastly damaged the economics and agriculture in the US. Hundreds and thousands of farmers lost their jobs and became migrant workers in California. Finding a job in the ranches was really difficult, because the society was cruel to those who are useless. In this book, there are a few minor characters that reflected some important social…

    • 546 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays