How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife to the reader? What is her importance in the novel?
The novel “Of Mice and Men” written by John Steinbeck is about people who were following their dreams in such difficult times in the 1930s. These were the times of the Great Depression in the United States, which was the effect of the First World War. By 1933, more than 15 million workers had lost their jobs. Unemployment caused with it poverty hunger and homelessness. Businesses as well as banks went bust and people had lost their lifetime savings, it was a difficult time for all people. Social settings of the novel are important to the readers as the whole scenario is about people who believed in the “American Dream”. The American dream was the idea that America was a place where everyone could make a fresh start and could reach security. For most people this dream never happened, e.g. Curley’s wife. People were going miles away from their hometowns to try to find this ideal place where everything is perfect. Curley’s wife was a character in the novel, which was presented as a young naive girl, who was able to do everything to make her dreams come true. Steinbeck does not say in the book what her name is, this could be due to the fact that she was the only female character that appears in the whole novel and not knowing her name, could help readers to create their own vision of her. Another reason could be to show her loneliness, no one cared about her that much to know her name or because the author does not want to show her as an individual character. Also, she only appears in four scenes and in the last one, we read that she was murdered. Steinbeck is trying to introduce his readers to Curley’s wife before she even appears by Candy as his personal opinion: “...she got the eye” or by telling that she is “Purty”. Candy also says that she has been married to Candy only for two weeks, and that she is interested in the farm. In other words, the author through Candy...
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