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Curley’s Wife in Story of Mice and Men

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Củ In the novel “Of Mice and Men” John Steinbeck tells a successful story of dreams, hopes and loneliness. He is introduced a character named Curley’s wife; she is a major significant and complex. She plays a main part in the novel. In doing this she displays and presents many of the main themes.

Curley’s wife is the only female character in the story and also she is the only major character who is not given an individual name. She is represented of woman in 1930’s when women have never been treated equally and were bound to do only house work. Steinbeck shows us that Curley’s wife is flirtatious, mischievous but most of all are an isolated character. She is an example of how the reader’s perception of a character can change without the character actually changing. We first hear about Curley’s Wife when Candy describes her to George. Candy uses expressions such as “she got the eye” and goes on to describe her as looking at other men before eventually calling her a “tart.” Through Candy’s words, we develop an initial perception of Curley’s Wife as flirtatious and even promiscuous. This perception is further emphasized by Curley’s Wife’s first appearance in the novel. Steinbeck uses light symbolically to show that she can be imposing when he writes, “The rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off.” Her physical appearance of “full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made- up”, as well as painted fingernails and elaborate hair, further build on our preconceptions.

She both talks and acts playfully and flirtatiously in front of the other ranch workers through her physical appearance and her own actions. Like the other people on the ranch, she is very lonely and has dreams of a better life which never come true. By Candy’s description, we have a negative feeling toward Curley’s Wife. But she begins to change when she enters Crooks’ room- a Black worker, where Crooks is talking to Lennie and Candy. Curley’s Wife enters asking for Curley. After the responses from the men, she talks about her loneliness and desire to live her own life. She reveals throughout the course of the story that she is unhappy in her marriage because her husband seems to care little for her, and is really more interested in talking about himself than anything else. She begins to start verbally attacking the men and indicates her apathetic attitude towards Curly. After Crooks asks her to leave, she threatens him with lynching. As she leaves, Steinbeck metaphorically indicates the disruption and discomfort she using the event of horses stamping their feet. At this stage of the novel, we begin to feel sympathy for Curley’s Wife who, lonely and bored, has ended up married to a man she doesn’t love.

But Curley’s wife has another side that is petty, cruel, and almost as self-obsessed as her husband. She deliberately flirts with the men in ranch and causes them to suffer Curley’s hot-tempers. Further, she does little to hide these flirtations from her husband, though they’re likely to infuriate him and make him feel even smaller, this is probably why she does it at all. Same as other characters in the novel, she also has a dream, a dream to become a movie star, but she laments her lost potential; she details twice that she could’ve been a Hollywood movie star, though the chance was taken from her by her mother, who worried she was too young. Before when George and Lennie came to the ranch, she has no friends and no one want to talk to her because they scared of Curley.

NovelShe starts get attentions from Lennie and George, specially Lennie. Even when Lennie has a mentality problem but she seems doesn’t care it much, she likes to talk to him. She knows Lennie is supposed to stay away from her but she still wants to talk to him, share with him everything about her lost opportunity. Our feelings for Curley’s Wife have entirely changed by her final scene. In the barn with Lennie, she tells him how lonely she gets and tells the tragic story of how she could have been an actress, but her dream was ended by marriage. She allows Lennie to touch her hair when he tells her about his likings for soft things as velvet but unfortunately she is killed in a tragic accident when he refuses to let go of her and breaks her neck. Our feelings for Curley’s Wife at this stage in the novel are entirely sympathetic.

Curley’s Wife remains consistent throughout the text. However our opinions for her is totally changed. We first think of her as a tart and a flirt who refuses to by her husband’s side. As we hear more of her own words we begin to feel a lot more sympathy for her. Steinbeck never told her name. To the men she is always the property of Curley and, because she should not stray from him. Her dreams make her more vulnerable and her dreams were shattered by marriage. Steinbeck has created a character for us to feel sympathetic towards. Curley’s wife is a sympathetic character, she is the most depressed and lonely character in the novel.

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