Curley's Wife Struggles In Of Mice And Men

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Curley’s Wife: The Struggle of Getting Out From Her Cage Throughout literature, women who are characterized as shameless temptresses are often the way they are because of a desperation to break away from society’s oppression of low-class, uneducated females. This is never more true than for Curley’s wife in the fictional novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Through considerate yet concise descriptions of her fantasy of Hollywood stardom, putting down of others, and attention-seeking ways, Curley’s wife is revealed to be a downtrodden female who suffers from her own internal, emotional conflict. Curley’s wife muses about her Hollywood ideal as a reassurance that she is a woman of worth and potential. She reveals that she “‘met one of…show more content…
After she barges into Crook’s room, she complains in self-deprecation that she is “‘[s]tandin’ here talkin’ to a bundle of bindle stiffs -- a n***er an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep --and likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else’” (78). She is cruel to Crooks, Lennie, and Candy instead of feeling empathetic because she is ashamed to acknowledge that once her makeup is wiped away she too is just as pathetic. Like them, she is powerless and shunned by society. However, while the men are are conversing about their dreams without aversion, Curley’s wife is snubbed for her reputation as a seductress, so as “she looked from one face to another, they were all closed against her” (79). Even Crooks, the black man who she “‘[can] get strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny’” (81) pushes her out. With a wounded pride, she is indignant at the men who ostracize her. She resents their black and white perspective: the prejudice that she, as a “trouble” woman, has no morals nor dreams of her own. Curley’s wife, from her iconic behavior, is classed by the men as a wanton woman who lives for the present moment. Jealous of the men’s companionship and their hopes, and offended by their judgment, Curley’s wife’s dignity plummets so much that she takes pleasure in seeing their pain -- like a bully. Yet, she is not naturally sadist nor immoral; she is angry at a society that never pauses to understand her
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