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.
Shirley Chisholm once claimed, “The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It 's a girl.’” Throughout history, women have been told that they are not smart enough, pretty enough, or strong enough to do what is classified as “male work”. In more traditional environments, women are expected to hold certain jobs such as nursing or cleaning. The possibility to obtain the more “advanced jobs” such as a doctor or a lawyer was unsubstantial. This harsh stereotyping enables women to capitulate to their male counterparts causing the oppression of women.
The other men have labeled her a “tart” and other names later in the story. She also “has the eye” which means she’s a flirt even though she is married she tends to go around the farm looking for other men. The men think of her as property and and give her no respect or dignity. Later in the story, Curley’s wife also seems to be lonely and wanting attention. “ ‘I get lonely,’ she said.
Curley’s wife expresses to Lennie, “I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.” Black and disabled people were no the only ones discriminated against during this time; women were victims of it too. The novel illustrates women being treated as property rather than a person. “The American Dream” says “ Curley’s wife, who threatens the dream by bringing with her the harsh realities of the outside world and by arousing Lennie’s interest.”
Steinbeck creates contrasting images of Curley’s wife by using literary techniques such as pathetic fallacy, juxtaposition and irony. Body 1: When Curley’s wife is first introduced into the novella it isn’t in person, it is through rumours and gossip. Evidence of this is when George is talking to Candy and Candy describes Curley’s wife as a “tart” who has “the eye”. This provides the reader with only a description of a married woman who is immoral and only causes trouble for the ranch hands. Specifically, the word “tart” dismisses her as a person and rids the reader of any thoughts about her having feelings.
In one of John Steinbeck’s novels, Of Mice and Men, Curley’s wife is always marginalized due to the fact that she is a woman. Curley's wife is, without a doubt, not treated with much respect. She is barely given any importance by the men at the ranch. A very evident way this is shown is her name. Her real name isn't mentioned even once in the entire
Women has encountered sexism on a daily basis since history books could even record them. Countless times throughout time, women faced through struggles of unfair treatment, discrimination, and oppression due to the basis of their gender. From a piece written by Carol Tavris, it is mentioned that when men have problems of their own, society often blames it on his personality or the environment he is in. However, when women have problems, society blames it on her mental state or psyche. The explanations we make of females with men are so different because of how prominent sexism is in this society. However, one of the biggest struggles faced by women would be the inequities in the social determinants of women’s health. In “Applying Intersectionality & Complexity Theory to Address the Social Determinants of
Finally, Steinbeck dehumanizes Curley by the negative criticism that always pursues her and her loss of identity when accompanying someone or something. This is why she is always commonly known as “Curley’s Wife”, proving that she is an unimportant and insignificant character in this book. Plus, everybody in the book says that Curley’s wife causes trouble for everyone; as George says, “She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger,” (Steinbeck, 49) and is constantly getting blame for all that goes wrong in Soledad; as Candy says, You God damn tramp. You done it, di’n’t you? I s’pose you’re glad.
John Steinbeck explains how Curley, the boss’s son, is not involved in his wife’s life, because he spends all his time talking about the ways he is going to seek revenge, as a result Curley’s wife gets lonely and is tempted to flirt with the men on the ranch. When Curley's wife tried speaking to Crooks, but he also rejected her fiercely and she said to Crook “ Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever once in awhile, think I like to stick around in the house all time and listen to what Curley is going to do to the other men”(Steinbeck 77). Since Curley’s wife is not getting attention from her husband, she is forced to seek attention from other men in the bunkhouse. Curley’s wife is very loyal to Curley, but because Curley is not involved in her life she complains to other men like Lennie saying “I never get to talk to anybody. I get awful lonely”(Steinbeck 85).
In nearly all historical societies, sexism was prevalent. Power struggles between genders mostly ended in men being the dominant force in society, leaving women on a lower rung of the social ladder. However, this does not always mean that women have a harder existence in society. Scott Russell Sanders faces a moral dilemma in “The Men We Carry in Our Minds.” In the beginning, Sanders feels that women have a harder time in society today than men do.
Someone once said, “A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.” The character known as Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men is portrayed in John Steinbeck’s writing as an antagonist. Multiple time throughout the book she is insulted by the men, who call her things such as a tramp, or a tart. As the story continues, there are many hidden indications that she could be seen as a much simpler, innocent presence, rather than an evil. When looked at more in depth, Curley’s Wife can be seen as a victimized character.
She also states “‘You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley’” (87). This is because she is Curley’s wife, and because she’s his, and she is a female and not just another guy and the ranch, she isn’t allowed to do things that some of the other people on the ranch can do. She is also classified as a tart by many of the guys. Since she isn’t even allowed to really talk to people on the ranch and do things the other guys get to do, this shows how she is discriminated against for her gender and on her
Whenever she can’t be found, questions arise about what she is up to. In events such as these Curley doesn’t even trust his own wife. ‘“Thinks Slim’s with his wife don’t he?”’ (54). Curley’s wife’s actions play a role in the reputation of the ranch hands and in the relationship with her husband.
The characters in “Of Mice and Men” have memorable personalities that we all can relate to due to their set archetypes. John Steinbeck uses these common and generalized in order to have the readers relate more to his characters. This allows the reader to experience the story and feelings of the characters much better and lets the reader to connect to the character’s feelings, or force the reader to form opinions that aligns with those of the main protagonist(s). In “Of Mice of Men”, readers are initially introduced to Curley’s Wife with words such as “tart”, and having “the eye”. Which, even if readers do not know what that means, it may be inferred through diction that she is overly flirty, or a “tramp”.