Thursday, August 15, 2019

Of Mice and Men: John Steinbeck Essay

Task: Say what happens on each of the three times we Curley’s wife and what we learn about her. Curley’s wife only appears three times throughout Of Mice and Men, even though she is a pivotal character in the story. The three times she appears are all small parts in the book, but are key scenes. They give us clues about her appearance, character and an insight into her life before she married Curley. The final time we see her is the vital scene where the plot comes together. The first time we see Curley’s wife is chapter 2, where she visits the bunkhouse. Curley’s wife enters the bunkhouse where Lennie and George are unpacking and George is telling Lennie where to go if he gets into trouble. Curley’s wife comes in looking for her husband; she stands in the doorway provocatively trying to get attention from Lennie and George. George ignores Curley’s wife, knowing what she is trying to do, but Lennie is instantly besotted with her. After Curley’s wife doesn’t get very far with Lennie and George she turns her attention to Slim and leaves the bunkhouse. This is only a short scene in the book, but we still learn a lot about Curley’s wife. The fact that she is only ever referred to as Curley’s wife suggests that she is only ever seen as the possession of Curley’s and has no individuality of her own. We learn that she has full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her hair was hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages†. The part about her hair could be taken as an insult about her appearance and that she has failed in making herself attractive. She is descried as wearing mainly red rouged lips, fingernails were red, red mules with little bouquets of red ostrich feathers† which could be interpreted as a colour of danger or a sexual colour which she uses to gain attention from the ranch hands. Curley’s wife strives for attention; by always wearing a lot of make-up and bright clothing she gets the attention she craves so much. Because Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch she has no other women to walk to or be friends with and is therefore seen as a sexual object by the ranch hands. She uses this sexual image the ranch hands have of her to gain attention. Her body language suggests that she flirts provocatively her body was thrown forward†, showin her legs†. Her voice was said to have a brittle quality, which could imply that she is as so brittle herself, easily broken or venerable. Because Curley’s wife cannot escape from the sexual image that the other men have of her she uses it as a means of getting the attention she lacks. It is shown this scene that she doesn’t have a good relationship with Curley, because even though she says she is looking for Curley, when she is told where he is she looks apprehensive and rushes back to the bunkhouse as if she would be in trouble if she were not there. Also in this scene shows us that she is lonely and wants someone to talk to because when George answers her brusquely she still stays there and tries to talk to them. After she has gone George speaks of her despairingly bitch†, piece of jail bait† meaning that she has failed to impress him. This scene is like a prediction of what will happen later on in the story, before Curley wife comes into the bunkhouse George is telling Lennie where to go if he gets into trouble, then Curley’s wife walks in. This could be an indication that she is or has something to do with what gets Lennie into trouble. Over all in this scene we find out that Curley’s wife is lonely, pretty, flirty, frightened of her husband and is seen as a possession of Curley’s. The second time we see Curley’s wife is in chapter 4. This scene is where we see Curley’s wife visit Crooks room, gathered there are all the misfits on the ranch. They have been left behind while everyone else has on into town for the night. These people are left behind because they are misfits i.e. are not a young healthy white male. Crooks is black and is crippled, Candy is old and crippled, Lennie has learning disabilities (seen as being thick) and Curley’s wife is a woman. Candy, Lennie and Crooks are discussing the plans for the farm they are going to own, when Curley’s wife comes in looking for Curley. Candy and crooks want Curley’s wife to leave so the don’t get into trouble, but she persists in trying to talk to them. She asks them if they know what happened to Curley’s hand even though she all ready has worked out what has happened. When Crooks tells her to leave or he’ll tell the boss not to let her in the barn any more she becomes angry and tells him not to open his mouth, she threatens that if he dose she will get him strung up on a tree. Curley’s wife only leaves when she thinks the other ranch hands including, Curley have come back from town. Again in this scene we are shown that Curley’s wife is a very lonely person and only wants someone to talk to well, I ain’t givin you no trouble. Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time†. She is also again shown to use her appearance to get attention, Her face was heavily made up. Her lips were slightly parted. She breathed strongly, as though she had been running†. Curley’s wife shows discontent in the life that she has now and a great dislike for her husband Curley, Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy aint he?†, I’m glad you bust up Curley a little bit. He got it comin’ to him. Sometimes I’d like to bust him myself†. She has this dislike for Curley because of his failure to satisfy her emotionally. Even though this scene is a gathering of the ranch misfits Curley’s wife has a slight advantage over the others. This is because she has a superior social standing as a young white female, she uses this to threaten dominate the other misfits. This happens on several occasions i.e. when she talks down to them You bindle bums† and also when Crooks orders her out of his room. By doing this he aggravates him and she attacks him verbally You know what I could do?† Well, you keep your place then Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny†. Crooks was an easy target for Curley’s wife to pick on because he is black. People were prejudiced against ethnic minorities in those days and this made it easy for her to frighten Crooks. In my opinion I think that she took pleasure out of his suffering and this particular scene shows a nasty side of her personality. The last time we see Curley’s wife is in the barn with Lennie, chapter 5. In this scene all of the men on the ranch except Lennie are outside taking part or are watching a horseshoe tournament. Lennie is in the barn playing with has pup, but accidentally kills it by stroking it too hard. Curley’s wife enters the barn because she is lonely and wants someone to talk too. She tries to flirt and impress Lennie by telling him about her life before she met Curley. She only really gets Lennie’s full attention when he tells her he likes to stroke nice things. When he tells her she invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but when Lennies stroking becomes harder, she panics; in a effort to stop her panicking and screaming Lennie puts his hand over her mouth, this in turn makes her panic even more. In the end Lennie like with the pup breaks her neck. He half-buries her in the hay and runs off. Candy later finds her body. Even though this is the last time we see Curley’s wife we still learn a lot about her and things we already know are reinforced. The fact that Curley’s wife is lonely is reinforced again in this scene I get lonely† this again makes her crave attention from other people. She attempts to gain Lennie’s attention in many ways in this scene, one of the ways she tries is by flirting here feel right her†. Another way is by playing on her own loneliness for sympathy even she shows none for Lennie when he shows her his dead pup. She tries to impress Lennie by telling him about her life before she met Curley She looked closely at Lennie to see whether she was impressing him†. Curley’s wife shows herself to be impatient and selfish by not letting Lennie tell his story before hers she went on with her story quickly, before she could be interrupted†. Again in this scene like the one before she shows a great dislike for Curley. This is because she married Curley only because she was let down by a man who said he could put her in movies, she married Curley so she could get away from home, but this turned out to be a hasty and bad decision for her. Because Curley doesn’t give his wife the attention she needs and tries to keep her from the other men on the ranch, she begins to hate Curley and seeks the attention from the other men on the ranch. Curley’s wife is also naive and lacks any common sense; this is because she believed that the man at the Riverside dance could put her in movies, when it is most probable that he just said it to sleep with her He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it† I never got that letter†. Also the fact that she let Lennie to stroke her hair after he told her that he killed his pup by stroking it shows that she lacks any common sense. Many of the characters show contempt for Curley’s wife; they feel that she is a troublemaker. Candy calls her a tart and even when she is dead he says to her you god-damn tramp†¦Ever’ body knowed you’d mess things up. You wasn’t no good. You ain’t no good now, you lousy tart†. In my opinion I think that she deserves pity rather than contempt, because her husband is insensitive, possessive and aggressive. From the three times we see Curley’s wife we can say that she is a pivotal character in the story. Because of her hasty marriage to the possessive Curley she has become lonely in her isolation. To try to escape from the loneliness she uses the sexual image the ranch hands have of her to gain attention from other people, even those at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The fact that she is known only as Curley’s wife and is never called by her real name by ether the ranch hands or the author shows that she is seen only as a possession and is not treated as an individual.

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