Of Mice and Men is not kind in its portrayal of women. In fact, women are treated with contempt throughout the course of the book. Steinbeck generally depicts women as troublemakers who bring ruin on men and drive them mad. Curley’s wife, who walks the ranch as a temptress, seems to be a prime example of this destructive tendency—Curley’s already bad temper has only worsened since their wedding.
Aside from wearisome wives, Of Mice and Men offers limited, rather misogynistic, descriptions of women who are either dead maternal figures or prostitutes.Despite Steinbeck’s rendering, Curley’s wife emerges as a relatively complex and interesting character. Although her purpose is rather simple in the book’s opening pages—she is the “tramp,” “tart,” and “bitch” that threatens to destroy male happiness and longevity—her appearances later in the novella become more complex. When she confronts Lennie, Candy, and Crooks in the stable, she admits to feeling a kind of shameless dissatisfaction with her life.Her vulnerability at this moment and later—when she admits to Lennie her dream of becoming a movie star—makes her utterly human and much more interesting than the stereotypical vixen in fancy red shoes. However, it also reinforces the novella’s grim worldview.
In her moment of greatest vulnerability, Curley’s wife seeks out even greater weaknesses in others, preying upon Lennie’s mental handicap, Candy’s debilitating age, and the color of Crooks’s skin in order to steel herself against harm. Steinbeck's short novel raises the lives of the poor and dispossessed to a higher, symbolic level. By becoming familiar with her, we come to an understanding of the tragedy of life. We see many perspectives of her, some negative and some positive.
We feel ourselves orbiting this character. But we see ourselves evolving as the character also does. She could be interpreted as a ‘miss-fitting’ character in the novel, as no one relaters to her. So how does Steinbeck present and develop Curley’s wife in Of Mice and Men? Throughout the book, Curley’s Wife is often portrayed in a negative view, the way most men would have thought of women in those times.She is first introduced to the reader through Candy. She is called a ‘tart’, which instinctively creates a biased opinion of her.
When we meet her ‘full rouged lips,’ ‘wide-spaced eyes heavily made up,’ ‘red fingernails’ and her ‘hair hung in little rolled clusters like sausages,’ her description seems to fit Candy’s, s In order to discuss how Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife to the reader one would determine that many readers would interpret her character and importance in many diversified ways.In this essay, one must elaborate on Steinbeck’s true definition of the one and only female in the novel. First and foremost other females in the novel are mentioned but not greeted with a presence like Curley’s wife. A girl that Lennie scares in ‘Weed’ is mentioned in a past tense and most importantly Lennie’s Aunt Clara is mentioned several times where sometimes she can be perceived as the absent centre. Nonetheless the reader is finally graced with Aunt Clara’s presence towards the end of the novel as an imaginary figure to Lennie’s symbolic vision.
Be that as it may, Curley’s wife is the only female character that the reader is properly acknowledged with. As she the only female in the novel which is set in a mans world, one would come to the conclusion that Curley’s wife is possibly the loneliest character in the novel. Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as a lonely character by reason of her being introduced through the view point of other characters. In other words she is used as a product of gossip [. Candy, the old Swamper, will attempt to entertain George and Lennie by making harsh accusations about her at Curley’s wife expense.She is presented as a flirt with loose sexual morals.
“She got the eye”. She’s “Jail Bait”. As the ranchers have these subjected views of her they believe the famous saying ‘The female of the species is more deadly that the male. ’ In Curley’s wife case, it is simply not true. She is extremely lonely and therefore craves the attention of other men just so that she can be stimulated by innocent conversation, nothing more.
“Why can’t I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely”. This is...