To What Extent Does Steinbeck Present Curley's Wife

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Steinbeck introduces Curley’s wife at the beginning of chapter 2 through Candy’s gossip. Towards the middle of chapter 2 the readers get to meet her for real. Steinbeck introduces Curley’s wife for the first time when Candy gossips about her to George and Lennie, he calls Curley’s Wife as a “tart”. This means that she is a bit of a whore. Candy also says that he “seen her give Carlson the eye” and “give Slim the eye” this gives the impression that she really is promiscuous and flirtatious. Steinbeck is often criticized as he wants the reader to feel sympathetic towards female characters in his books but yet he always gives them the role of a whore or a housewife. Steinbeck does this to show what society viewed women as and he exaggerates…show more content…
She had “roughed lips” and was “heavily made up” this means that she cares about her appearance and wants to look attractive in front of others. In that era women were looked down upon by men because of their sense of fashion as they were viewed as objects belonging to the men and Steinbeck demonstrates this in the way the characters in Of Mice and Men react to her appearance. He also makes this obvious to the reader when Curley’s wife finds out that Curley was in the house and she wasn’t. After using the excuse of “lookin’ for Curley” when she goes to the bunk-house to flirt with the new guys (Lennie and George) and when Slim tells her that he seen him going in her house “she was suddenly apprehensive” giving the impression that Curley will be mad if she is not home when he comes in as in the 1930s women were expected to do nothing apart from the jobs given to them from men. They were not allowed to go out and socialize unless told to do so (especially not socializing with other men). Steinbeck further introduces her by explaining her appearance and her accent. She wore a “cotton house dress and red mules” on the insteps of the mules she had “red ostrich feathers” and her “fingernails were red”. Red is commonly used to symbolize danger, here Steinbeck is foreshadowing the characteristics of Curley’s wife in the way she dresses and how she is seen by other characters. Her “voice has a nasal, brittle quality”. The word brittle means fragile or
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