Of Mice and Men: Presentation of Curley’s wife

Hello Year 11 – aka the tumbleweed group 😉

Please post your homework answer below. You are answering either (a) or (b) depending on what your area for improvement is (according to your mock feedback)

Your answer should represent 20-25 minutes writing. To avoid any IT crisis, write your answer on a Word document first and then copy and paste it into the comment box.

a) How does Steinbeck use details in this passage (p.88 and p.89) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men (Curley and the other ranch workers) Remember to focus on the devices Steinbeck uses (AO2)

b) How is Curley’s wife presented in the novel as a whole and what does this show you about the society he lived in? Remember to focus on linking quotes from the text with contextual understanding (A04)

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52 Responses to Of Mice and Men: Presentation of Curley’s wife

  1. abi says:

    How does Steinbeck use details in this passage (pg. 88 and 89.) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men?
    On pages 88 and 89 Steinbeck uses many details to help portray the relationship between Curley’s wife and men on the ranch. Steinbeck represent Curley’s wife as a pessimist, she is a women in the 1930’s and so she would never be treated like an equal. Curley’s wife struggles to come to terms with this, “Think I don’t like to talk to someone ever’” this shows that Steinbeck is using her denial of the facts and the way that society is, to create a character that feels that she is equal to men. This makes the reader feel sympathy for Curley’s wife and creates an effect of understanding towards her situation.
    Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife as a tool to show the role of women in the great depression because everyone has a dream but women are forced to leave there dreams behind and forget about them. To survive in the 1930’s Curley’s wife would have had to accept this and evolve her life around it. The reader is given the idea that Curley’s wife had to marry Curley because he owned a farm and realistically she knew that she wouldn’t get a better chance, but she had to take it. “Sure I gotta husband” this creates an image that she doesn’t see Curley as a fit husband and her relationship with him is so weak that she looks for company with the other ranch workers.
    In the story ‘of mice and men’ Curley’s wife has a very distrusting relationship with men. This is shown she says “swell guy, ain’t he” this shows us that she knows what Curley really is and that she knows that he isn’t really that interested in her. She lets him use her to show that he has power because she doesn’t know how to get out of his life.
    In the passage the conversation takes place in Crook’s room, Steinbeck does this to show that Curley’s wife feel as though the only power she can have in a relationship with a male is when she is in the territory of someone lower than her in the hierarchy. “standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs- a nigger an’ a dum-dum” Steinbeck writes this to show the reader that Curley’s wife isn’t a damsel in distress she on her terms can hold her own. This shows us that her relationship with men other than Curley is quite defiant to the rules of society.
    Over all Curley’s wife is portrayed to be a lonely women on a ranch full of men and the only thing that she does is flirt with the ranch workers, but not when Curley is around. On the whole Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife to create a effect of empathy on the read and to show that she is in pure desperation for company from others.

    • sophie says:

      i think that this is very good as you seemed to have anaylsed the passage very well. i think you should use more quotes next time so you have more things to comment on.

    • Sara says:

      Really liked this answer Abi, you mentioned some good points which I didn’t think of. You made lots of valid, creative and interesting points about Curley’s wife’s relationship with Curley and the role she would have played in 1930s and incorporated quotes in well also. To improve perhaps expand on the relationship between Curley’s wife and the other men on the ranch and the specific techniques Steinbeck uses to portray this.

  2. Abi Jopson says:

    How does Steinbeck use details in the passage (p88 and p89) to show relationship between curley’s wife and men (Curley and the other ranch workers) remember to focus on the devices Steinbeck uses (Ao2)
    On pages 88 and 89 Steinbeck uses devices in different ways to highlight how Curley’s wife interacts with men and the relationship that she shares with men. On page 89 Steinbeck is showing that her relationship with men is a result of her not getting her dream. This is shown when she says I could have gone with the shows but she married Curley instead. This makes her attitude bitter towards them as she is upset that she has to talk to them instead. You can tell this when she says ‘I could of went with the shows’ she is very bitter and almost angry at them that she isn’t in the shows.
    However she is not glad of the company she does have as we see on page 89 when she calls crooks, Lennie and curly a ‘nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep.’ This is showing that although the writer makes us feel sorry for her as she is the only woman on the ranch and is lonely he is showing us that she is not all innocent and she is prejudice towards other who weren’t accepted in the 1930’s society. She is discriminatory towards black people, disabled people and old people. This shows that she does not have a good relationship with them at all as she is being mean to them and using discriminatory terms of address.
    On page 88 Steinbeck describes the silence as an ‘embarrassed silence’ When Steinbeck uses this description of the silence on page 88 this is showing how their conversation was awkward symbolising that there was not much of a relationship between Curley’s wife and the other ranch workers. This is also highlighting how the ranch workers are jumpy with her presence and they are scarred of being ‘canned’
    Steinbeck shows Curley’s wife’s dislike for Curley by using a sarcastic rhetorical question, ‘swell guy, ain’t he?’ Curley’s wife then goes on to describe how he is not a ‘swell guy’ and why she doesn’t like him.
    Her relationship with Curley isolates her from the other men on the ranch as they are scared that she is going to flirt with them and Curley will find out and fire them. We can see this in page 88 when candy says, ‘you gotta husban’. You got no call foolin’ around’ candy accuses her of flirting with them when all she is doing is trying to talk to them because she is lonely. This is showing that they don’t want to have a friendly relationship with her because they are so scared of loosing their job from curley. This is quite ironic as one of the main advantages of getting married is that you will not be lonely anymore, but it seems to be the complete opposite for Curley’s wife, as she cannot talk to any other men because she is married and Curley doesn’t talk to her.
    We can also see that the lack or trust for curley’s wife from the ranch workers is a mutual feeling between the two, as she doesn’t believe that Curley got his hand caught in a machine. As she calls it ‘baloney’ this is showing her untrustworthy mindset towards the other ranch workers.

    • Hannah P says:

      very well written and includes a variety of different quotes from the passage that link to the device being explain 🙂 you could make the device you are talking about a bit more clearly but overall very good 😀

  3. Louise says:

    ‘His hair is jus’ like wire, but mine is soft and fine’. For a woman who lives on a working ranch in the 30s, this kind of feminine small talk would have been rare. However, Curley’s wife still manages to find a victim for her talk about hair. This shows how different she is from all the other people that surround her life, and it also shows, even though she is portrayed as Curley’s possession, how different she is to him. This is a very accurate portrayal of the 1930s for women, because whilst the men were working, the women really wouldn’t have anything to do, and they’d take any chance to have a feminine conversation.
    In the first meeting, Steinbeck stresses how incongruous her clothes and appearance are, with her “full rouged lips”, “heavily made up” eyes, “red fingernails” and “red mules on the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers. Red is a sign of danger and it was also the colour of the women’s dress in weed. The fact that she has “ostrich feathers” on her shoes, shows that she is trying to glamorize her life, because she is surrounded by working men. She is immediately isolated, partly being the only female on the ranch and also because she seems like she wouldn’t be the sort of woman to fit in on a ranch. Steinbeck makes her seem more friendless and remote by not even giving her a name. Steinbeck’s initial portrayal of Curley’s wife shows her to be a mean and seductive temptress. Alive she is connected to Eve in the Garden of Eden. She brings evil into men’s lives by tempting them in ways they can’t resist. Eventually, she brings about the end of the dream of Eden (the little farm where George and Lennie can live of the fat of land). Her death at Lennies hands means the end of George and Lennies companionship and their dream.
    George senses imminent danger and tries to warn Lennie about the kind of woman Curley’s wife is. He calls her ‘Jail Bait’ although in fact the consequences of her contact will be far worse than any jail sentence. Lennie intuitively senses trouble and suggests that they leave the ranch. George has to balance his instinct to escape against the need to earn money, and this need outweighs his misgivings. This decision will cost him dearly in the end. This portrays Curley’s wife as quite a dangerous woman, and that if you come into contact with her, you will suffer fatal consequences.
    ‘Gosh, she was purty’. The uncomplicated, bovine Lennie is transfixed by the obvious prettiness of Curley’s wife. Whereas the others can see the limitations of her attractions and speculate about her morals, Lennie is conscious only of an animal awareness of the opposite sex. The men know that, as Curley’s wide, she is too dangerous to befriend and so they are never chatty, and just want her to leave. George has to teach this to Lennie, telling him to “leave her be”. This shows just how lonely she is and how much she just wants a friend to talk to. Although in the 30s, the marriage rate had dropped, Curley’s wife is obviously married. The nation declared a truce in its war against spinsterhood, and magazines once again ran articles about women who found happiness in life without a husband. So Curley’s wife could have probably lived on her own quite happily, but she obviously likes being the only woman on the ranch and the centre of attention, so she stayed.

    • Stacey says:

      This is really good I love how you compared her to Eve in th Garden of Eden as i thnk thats really clever. I think you could have linked it a bit more to the context and you also could have talked about how she hasnt got a name a bit more as its a good point to get in.
      🙂

  4. Ella says:

    How does Steinbeck use details in this passage (88-9) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men? Remember to focus on the devices Steinbeck uses.

    On pages 88 to 89, we learn of the lack of male respect that Curley’s wife receives. “You ain’t wanted here […] you got floozy idears about what us guys amounts to”. The term “floozy idears” suggests how the little trust that the men have for her and how they thus believe her to just be a “floozy”. This word, being used in an offensive way, criticises Curley’s wife’s appearance and implies evident sexism. This makes the reader sympathise slightly for her as it implies her will for equal opportunities.
    The colloquialisms used by Curley’s wife express her anger. “Baloney!” is used many times throughout the passage to convey her frustration towards the workers for the inequality and their lack of trust with her. This is also used frequently to take control of the conversation. This is a typical feature of her; we learn of her love for attention and realise that she knows how to play the ranch workers.
    However, her lack of friendship and association with the ranch works is made evident through her use of crude language; “a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep”. The offensive terms used convey her will to express that hierarchy system of the ranch places her as more important and significant than them. The outburst of anger causes the reader to pity her, as it is suggested that this is the only way of which she can fell worthy or confident. Curley’s wife’s later quote of “an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else” provides her knowledge that there is a little friendship between her and the men of the ranch because she is not a generic 30’s American woman, and she is the only female companion they have.
    Curley’s wife being so different to the norm of what an itinerant worker would come across is shown through Lennie’s reaction to her “Lennie watched her, his mouth half open”. This response further suggests her love for attention, as though she makes such an effort in order to be noticed.
    The relationship between her and Curley is touched upon with her comments on her dislike for him: “Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he?” Her annoyance with the ranch workers associating her only with him is implied through her sudden sarcastic rhetorical question “ain’t he?” This causes the reader to empathise more with her because they realise that she too, doesn’t like Curley, but is afraid of him. “Who bust him?” Her interest grows when she realises Curley “started som’pin’ he didn’ finish”, as though this is some sort of accomplishment.

    • Louise says:

      Good – quotes are relevant and good analysis of the quotes.
      Improvements – Make the writing flow – paragraphs seem bitty.
      Overall – Really well done, I especially love the first two paragraphs!

  5. Vicky says:

    a)How does Steinbeck use details in this passage (pg88 and 89) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men?

    Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife’s dialogue to show ideas between Curley’s wife and the other ranch workers. “Whatta ya think I am, a kid?”, being a rhetorical question shows that she seems segregated from the workers and discriminated against. This is in some ways ironic as later on in the passage she calls the other workers derogatory terms such as ‘nigger an a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep’. She thinks that she is being categorised as someone like Lennie- a person with learning disabilities and therefore ‘kid-like’, which can be supported by the fact that she is a woman where sexual inequality is present.

    Steinbeck also uses imagery in a metaphor form of “you ain’t got sense enough in that chicken head to even see that we ain’t stiffs” to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and the other ranch men. This makes the reader think that even though Candy is only an itinerant worker he thinks that she is unintelligent in not an educational sense but in a social sense. However he is probably only saying this to gain confidence in himself and the other workers, whereas in reality she could get them ‘canned’. This is also supported by the fact that he holds onto the American Dream- “you don’t know that we got our own ranch to go to, an’ our own house.” which is just formed by an idealistic imagination.

    Steinbeck uses tension in the passage to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men. This is shown when after Curley’s wife asks what happened to Curley’s hand, ‘there was an embarrassed silence. Candy stole a look at Lennie. Then he coughed.’ The three simple- structured sentences gives connotations that the situation is simple and obvious- Curley’s wife knows they are lying but the ranch workers still want to stick together and protect each other, making the reader think that they are scared of her. This hence makes the atmosphere tense and awkward in case Curley’s wife acts on the fact that she knows what really occurred with Curley and one of the ranch workers, when Candy repeats the obvious lie that he ‘got it caught in a machine.’

    • :) says:

      I think that this is very good, especially your use of many quotes and interpretting them into your answer rather than it being a standard reply. I think that it could be improved a bit more by analysing the effect on the reader (although this has been done once).

      Well done 😀

  6. Sara says:

    (Question A)

    Curley’s wife being a woman in the 1930s would have been considered beneath men and she would already have a pessimistic attitude towards men. She is trapped in a loveless marriage with Curley when she would prefer to be an actress in Hollywood. Curley’s wife isn’t oblivious to the type of person Curley is – “Sure! I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he?” Her use of sarcasm shows she has insight, and isn’t as unintelligent as men assume. As she recounts how Curley talks about how he is going to “lead with his left twice and then bring in the ol’ right cross” it is obvious she is recounting from previous conversations, implying Curley talks about boxing a lot. She speaks about boxing in a bitter tone, perhaps because she disapproves of fighting, as she is being physically abused herself. As she continues to talk to the men, her feeling of loneliness despite having a companion is portrayed – “Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while?” This could be compared to George and Lennie’s relationship in the novel, despite not being alone George still experiences a feeling of loneliness. At first the reader is made to feel pitiful towards Curley’s wife, who is so unhappy in her marriage and unsatisfied with life.

    While Curley’s wife is in Crooks’ room, she takes advantage of the fact that for once she is above men in the social hierarchy, as Crooks is black, Candy is old and Lennie has a disability, they were all marginalised people at the time. She relishes in the novelty feeling of having power, as she manages the topic of conversation to whatever she pleases, despite the men seeming uninterested, including her self-absorbed dream of becoming an actress – “I tell ya I could of went with shows. Not jus’ one neither. An’ a guy tol’ me he could put me in the pitchers.” The cycle of the abused (Curley is assumed to be physically violent towards his wife) becoming the abuser takes a turn as Curley’s wife continues to insult the men “Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs – a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep” she makes Crooks “retire into the terrible protective dignity of the negro”. Before Curley’s wife entered the room, the three men were forming a friendship, because Curley’s wife has caused disruption to this situation the reader feels hostile towards her, especially because the men aren’t engaging in her conversation, and are obviously uninterested.

    As the encounter between the men and Curley’s wife continues, “a change came over old Candy” as he finds his voice and tells Curley’s wife “You ain’t wanted here. We told you you ain’t. An’ I tell ya, you got floozy ideas about what us guys amounts to”. The men left behind on a Saturday night (Crooks, Candy and Lennie) are considered the lowest within the men hierarchy and even they are rejecting Curley’s wife’s company. Curley’s wife’s constant straying onto the men’s territory (the barn and stable) and because she actively sought out the men left behind shows her desperation for company and the constant loneliness she experiences.

    • Vicky says:

      it’s good that you have linked aspects of Curley’s wife to other people in the plot- i.e. her loneliness to George’s, I wouldn’t have thought of that 🙂

    • abi says:

      sara this is really good!!
      you did well: you included lots of quotes and back up your points well with quotes from that passage
      you could improve on: could have focused more on specific devices

      well done 😀

      • abi says:

        I think your essay is realy well writen and i like the way you have used more than one quote for a point.

  7. Jasmine says:

    Even before Curley’s wife makes an appearance in the novel, she is depicted in a derogatory manner as a product of Candy’s remark that she’s merely a ‘tart’ who ‘got the eye’ for the men on the ranch – this evident sexism was prevalent throughout America in the 1930s, and so women often found themselves scornfully belittled by men due to being deemed of lesser value to them. This was most likely a result of the male-dominant workforce at the time; as jobs were limited due to the Great Depression, women were expected not to work as it would be to unfairly steal jobs from their more capable male counterparts. The sheer reference of the character as being a possession of Curley confirms this subservient position of women at the time – a stereotype that is further reinforced once she is formally introduced whilst claiming to be ‘lookin’ for’ her husband in the bunkhouse before suddenly becoming ‘apprehensive’ as she ‘hurried away’ at the prospect of facing the aggressive man who clearly ‘ain’t a nice fella’.
    Later in the novel Curley’s wife confesses to Lennie that she yearns to prove herself by acting ‘in the pitcher’, hence her apparent dissatisfaction with her lifestyle on the ranch. This portrayal of dependence on the American Dream not only illustrates women as being neglected in the country at the time; all people of all backgrounds were victim to the overly optimistic mindset of America that promised equal opportunities despite differing socioeconomic upbringings, only to have that naïve materialistic belief snatched away by the cruel discrimination of those slotted into a lower position in the hierarchy.
    Overall, Steinbeck incorporates Curley’s wife into the entire novel not only as a representative of the shunned women of the time but as a means of conveying prejudice in its entirety across all marginalised people of American society.

    • Rhiannon says:

      Hi Jasmine
      I think your answer is very well laid out with all your points being put across very clearly and you incorporate the quotes into the answer very well, however at times I think for me I sometimes got a bit confused as to which context you were talking about as you switched between them quite a bit. 😀

  8. Asdfghjkl. says:

    How does Steinbeck use details in this passage page 88-89, to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men (Curley and other ranch workers)?

    Page 88 and 89 put across the point that Curley’s wife is very emotionally demanding and craves attention from anyone who is willing to provide it. “An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talkin’ to a bunch ot bindle stiffs- a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep- an’ likin’ it because there ain’t nobody else.” She has no options other than, talking to the “bindle bums” on the ranch, or stay in a “two-by-four house and listen how Curley’s gonna lead with his left twice and then bring in the ol’ right cross.”
    She may seem to be promiscuous and flirtatious, but in reality she is just lonely, and in this passage, this is potrayed to the reader, making them realise that she doesn’t ‘want’ the men, she just wants some company other than a husband who “spends all his time sayin’ what he’s gonna do to guys he don’t like, and he don’t like nobody.”

    Also in this passage, the reader learns that Curley’s wife isn’t as naïve and blinded as she appears. “Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy ain’t he?” She is being strongly sarcastic, which shows that she knows Curley isn’t, in fact, a “swell guy” and she knows that everyone else knows it too. It also shows she doesn’t care for him very much at all.

    Another section that shows she’s more wise to what goes on then she makes out, is when she says, “Say- what happened to Curley’s han’?” When the ranch workers try to convince her of the story saying that he, “got it caught in a machine” Curley’s wife replies, “Baloney! What do you think you’re sellin’ me? Curlety started som’pin’ he didn’ finish.” She is more wise to what’s happening than she makes out. She knows what’s happened, she’s just waiting for confirmation from the workers, when they don’t give it to her, she gets irate with them. This also shows that she has a very impatient and demanding personality. She wants to be the centre of attention, she wants to know exactly what’s going on. The ranch workers are simply providers of this attention. The sole reason she bothers to converse with them is the fact that she craves and desires, to be craved and desired.

    Steinbeck uses her ignorant appearance and perception as a media of sympathy and conforming to ideas of women in the 1930s, she makes herself into a conventional seeming women almost in a way to make everyone want her. She wants to be wanted and in this passage, the reader learns that she isn’t what she makes herself. She’s actually just a lonely girl who had dreams that didn’t come true and got stuck on the ranch with only bindle bums, niggers and sheep to talk to. “I tell ya I could of went with shows.” This also backs up the idea of the dream. The fact that later on Candy talks about their shared dream, “You don’t know that we got our own ranch to go to, an’ our own house.” This in a way, brings Curley’s wife to their level. Throughout most of the novel she stays aloof and acts like she’s very much better than them, but the fact that they both share the concept of a dream destined to collapse, brings them down to the same level and makes them seem, not so much different. They’re all just humans with dreams.

    In conclusion, the passage conveys the idea that the relationship between Curley’s wife and the men is simply the need of Curley’s wife to have attention, combined with her loneliness, the workers are simply providers of this. They are not so different from each other and they are all bonded by the concept of wanting something unachievable and that they will never get. The concept of them all wanting to be better than they are, social rank aside, they are all stuck in the same metaphorical boat. Destined to sink. ^_^

  9. hannah says:

    How does Steinbeck use details in the passage (pg 88 and 89) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and me (Curley and the other ranch workers). Remember to focus on the devices used by Steinbeck.

    On pages 88 and 89, Steinbeck uses a variety of different devices to show the relationship that Curleys wife has with the other men.
    On page 88 when she is talking to candy in the bunk house, ‘candy says accusingly, you gotta husban’. You got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys causin’ trouble’ it is suggesting that Candy is saying why are you talking to us you have a husband that should be giving you attention as they will not be because they will be accused of flirting with her by Curley. Also this shows the reader the only reason why she is talking to them is to get the attention that she doesn’t get from Curley, it shows that she wants a relationship where she is appreciated and this is the situation when she is with some of the other ranch workers.
    Also on pg 88 Steinbeck uses a lot of rhetorical questions like ‘think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ one in a while’ suggests to the reader that she is lonely even though she is married to Curley and by being the only women on the ranch adds to this loneliness as she hasn’t got anyone to talk to and she wants to be able to talk to the other ranch workers but this will not happen because Curley doesn’t like her speaking to the others. By using the rhetorical questions in the writing shows her loneliness as she doesn’t have anyone to answer them.
    On page 89 when Curley’s wife addresses Lennie, Candy and Crooks as ‘a nigger, a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep’ shows her power over them because nowadays calling someone a name like this would not be politically correct. Also after she calls them all these names she says ‘an likin’ it because their ain’t nobody else’ suggests that she would rather be doing anything else then be here with these people, while she is talking to them she mentions that she could have been on the shows and been in a acting career and be out all night but instead she got married to a ranch worker and ended up living on a ranch where she is not doing what she wanted to do. This makes the reader think that all she wants to be is excepted as a women and be able to have a friendly relationship with the other ranch workers but this is stopped as she is married to a man who doesn’t really care about her but still wants her all for himself.

  10. sarah horswell says:

    How is Curley’s wife presented in the novel as a whole and what does this show you about society in the 1930’s?
    In of mice and men, Curley’s wife lives in a society where women have no rights and are discriminated against, men have all power. Curley’s wife has such a little effect on society that Steinbeck feels she’s not even worth being a named character. As a victim of this lack of authority, she finds someone to bully and is presented as a very powerful and intimidating person. Curley’s wife intimidates Crooks in his bunk house and threatens “shut it nigga, I could get you strung up on a tree so easily it ain’t even funny”. Curley’s wife does this so that for once, she can feel superior to someone rather than have to follow orders to her superior husband, Curley. The threat represents the discrimination in the 1930’s, which racism was ok and black people were even more discriminated against than women. Black people weren’t allowed to be associated with other people and Curley’s wife is intimidating as for once, she isn’t the one being the outcast, she feels like she belongs in the rest of society.
    “Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. The definition of the American dream in 1931 was for all American’s to hope for a better future. Curley’s wife had an American Dream that she were “to work in Hollywood and become a famous actress”, but it was unachieved when she were chosen to marry Curley. Curley’s wife is presented as a prisoner of the 1930’s and one of many American’s who gave up on the American dream. Also, she knew as did many other American’s, if she went for her dream and failed then she would have nothing, fear prevented her from trying. Steinbeck emphasizes with Curley’s wife as she is marginalized in a microcosm of the society in California, she represents one of the many women in America who gave up hope in achieving the American dream. Marrying Curley was not her preferred decision but is the choice she had to make to survive 1930’s America, if Curley’s wife wanted to survive the effects of the great depression then she had to secure herself a stable place in society where living was to a acceptable standard.
    Curley’s wife is in an unhappy marriage with Curley and her choice to marry Curley presents her as a sly and clever woman wanting nothing but to survive the times of 1930’s. Curley’s wife knew that many men hitched lifts from trucks and trains searching for work, had no dependable income and had nothing to their name, hence her decision to marry Curley so she wasn’t left lonely. Curley’s wife knew that marrying Curley would mean a secure income as Curley is the bosses son, a place to stay at night on the ranch and food and drink to survive. “Sure I gotta husband, you all seen him? Swell ain’t he.” Curley’s wife’s sarcasm represents how much she detest Curley but it shows the steps she was willing to take to being a better off person in the 1930’s. Curley’s wife feared for her life as effects of the great depression were taking place and slyly married Curley to secure her place in society, forfeiting her American dream of being famous, selfishness and fear overruled by hope.
    Overall, Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife’s character as a way of representing the imprisonment of all American’s in the 1930’s, particularly for women. Also, it displays courageous actions that had to be taken place to live in the depressing times, this makes us empathise with Curley’s wife as her intimidating and unfair actions are due to her being a victim of the 1930’s and the reader see’s her actions as justifiable.
    Sarah Horswell

    • Jasmine says:

      Hello Sarah! Your depiction of Curley’s wife as a ‘prisoner of the 1930s’ creates a vivid image of her situation in the novel, and ties in well with the idea of fear in the lives of women at the time. It’s also interesting how you’ve chosen to point out that it was her decision to be with Curley for materialistic needs, as opposed to being seemingly forced into the marriage by society’s expectations. However, many of your commas are spliced – other forms of punctuation, such as a semi-colon, should be used in place of these in order to be grammatically correct. An example of this would be your final sentence; a semi-colon would replace the comma between the two clauses perfectly.

  11. Katie says:

    Question a)

    Curley’s wife has a complex relationship with other men on the ranch. All the men know she is very beautiful but do not want to talk to her because fear of the husband finding out. Steinbeck uses this fear in the ranch workers and turns it into dislike towards Curley’s wife from the other ranch workers. For example in the extract you can see that Candy says: ‘”You gotta husban’. You got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble.”’ From this you can see that the workers don’t want to spend time with Curley’s wife even though she wants to spend time with them. The workers are afraid Curley’s wife will get them in trouble and this makes the reader sympathise with the workers as they can’t really do anything to get rid of her because she is married to the boss’s son but spending time with her could get them in trouble anyway.
    Not only does Curley’s wife have a complex relationship with the ranch workers, the relationship with her husband appears more complex. For example in the extract it says: ‘her face lost its sullenness and grew interested. “Say what happened to Curley’s han’?”’ Even though she is married to Curley and should love him she is ‘interested’ and almost appears happy at the fact that Curley’s hand was crushed. When Steinbeck uses this description of how her face ‘grew interested’ it can make the reader feel a bit disturbed as she is happy about Curley’s hand being crushed. Alternatively, the reader may sympathise with Curley’s wife as she clearly doesn’t enjoy being with Curley so if his hand is damaged she may get more freedom from Curley.
    Further on in the extract you can see that Curley’s wife begins to moan about how she’s doing nothing whilst everybody else is out. For example it says: ‘”-Sat’iday night. Ever’body out doin’ som’pin’. Ever’body! An’ what am I doin’?”’ Steinbeck show here how lonely Curley’s wife is because she only has Lennie, Candy and Crooks to talk to – ‘a bunch of bindle stiffs’. Curley’s wife is very lonely because no workers on the ranch want to talk to her and neither does her husband. This make the reader sympathise with Curley’s wife because she is the only woman on the ranch and she has no other person to talk to that is on the same level as here.
    Throughout this extract Curley’s wife is trying to talk to the workers as she is lonely however she doesn’t appear to want to make friends with them as she is judgmental and rude towards them, for example it says: ‘Curley’s wife laughed at him. “Baloney,” she said.’ From this you can see that she mocks Candy for his dream and doesn’t seem interested in it. Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife as someone how is very sociable but not keen to make the effort to be friends with people. This makes the reader dislike Curley’s wife a bit as even though she is a very lonely person she is also rude and opinionated.
    To conclude, Curley’s wife is a very complex woman in the way she behaves making her relationships with other men even more complex as she is very lonely but appears not to help herself by causing trouble.

    • Emily says:

      Hello Katie 🙂
      I think you have written your response very well! I especially like how you went into a lot of detail about your quote and explained why she may be feeling or doing those things. However, I think you should keep your points fairly simple to actually get the point across. Also, I think you should use a different word instead of “complex” at the beginining or at the end so it dosen’t seem like you are repeating yourself. Well done though!

  12. Rhiannon says:

    1a) The relationship Curley’s wife has with the men on the ranch is a complex one, and the relationship she has with Curley is even more so.
    It is obvious from this passage that the relationship between Curley and his wife is not a good one. “Swell guy ain’t he” Up until this point many people would believe that the relationship between Curley’s wife and Curley is a happy one. They seem to get on well together however in this piece of dialogue we realise how aware Curley’s wife is of her situation with her husband. This part of the text creates sympathy within the reader because we realise how alone she is in the ranch; she is the only women on the ranch, she is shunned by all the ranch workers and now we discover she is even not wanted by her husband. Steinbeck backs up this point by saying “He don’t like nobody” this carries on the sympathy created within the reader and we start to pity her lonely life.
    Curley’s wife also has a very negative relationship with many of the workers on the ranch. “You ain’t wanted here. We told you you ain’t” This is Candy talking to Curley’s wife trying to get her to leave, so they don’t get in trouble with Curley and consequently the boss with a high chance of getting fired. When Candy, a typically passive character, stands up against Curley’s wife; we then realise the true dislike of Curley’s wife within the workers ranks. By the use of the repeated message within Candy’s speech Steinbeck shows how desperately all the workers want Curley’s wife to leave them alone. “S’pose you get us canned” at this point the reader starts to realise the real reason many of the workers dislike Curley’s wife so much; she poses a threat to their jobs and with the life of an itinerant worker it is difficult at the time to gain more work. This draws the sympathy, in the reader’s eyes, away from Curley’s wife and more towards the workers on the ranch.
    Curley’s wife even seems to be in a negative light in the eyes of Steinbeck himself. “The girl” throughout the whole of the novel she is never referred to as a character of her own. This anonymity means that we never truly see the real Curley’s wife; and this creates a degree of sympathy in the reader’s eyes even though Steinbeck is trying to steer us away from sympathising with her.
    So in conclusion, the relationships between Curley’s wife and the men on the ranch, on the whole are negative ones as many of the men find her troublesome and promiscuous.

  13. sophie says:

    Question B- how is Curley’s wife presented in the novel as a whole and what does this you about society she lives in?
    Throughout the novel ‘Of mine and men’ Steinbeck presents the nameless character ‘Curley’s wife’ as bait. She is flamboyant and flirtatious- which as in 1930’s America was unusual for a young lady to be acting in this way. Curleys wife almost reels different itinerate works in to her as she feels she is worth more than what Curley is able to give her. George often refers to Curley’s wife as ‘jail bait’ this shows the society in America in 1930 was not kind to women. Men with no family’s or friends were seen as more important than women who are of a more respectful level in their life’s as men were higher up in the hierarchy in society. This shows that it must have been hard for Curley’s wife to be living on the ranch during this time as she did not have any other women to be friends with. The nameless character could not talk to any of the workers without Curleys becoming suspicious and thinking she had done something wrong.
    Curley’s wife is often given no credit as she is a young woman with dreams bigger than herself. Curleys wife is troubled by the unsatisfying thought of what she could have been as we find out ‘coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes’ this shows to the reader the un-satisfaction Curleys wife has with her life. She feels as if her life has become this way because she had to marry Curley. The nameless character that is often referred to as ‘Curley’s wife’ Steinbeck does not give her a name to show that women during America’s 1930’s were nothing more than the property of their husband and that they are not worthy of being given their own names.
    On the first encounter George and Curleys wife have, George right away see’s her as a sign of trouble and tells Lennie to stay away from her.

  14. Emily says:

    b) How does Steinbeck use their relationship in the novel as a whole to convey ideas about America in the 1930s? (Improving my mock)

    Many people at the ranch find George and Lennie’s relationship unusual as they are used to an individualistic society. The Boss is cynical that George is exploiting Lennie, but he reassures him that he is not. “Well I never seen one guy take so much trouble for another guy.” The Boss finds their friendship very strange as he is used to seeing itinerant workers that have no time to forge friendships which results in them being somewhat lonely. However, George and Lennie, to an extent, are not lonely as “I got you to look after me and you got me to look after you.” George helps Lennie in a more obvious way but what George may not realise is that Lennie helps him by allowing him to have a different view of people than a standard labourer of that decade. Most of the population did not understand mental disabilities in the 1930s and George and Lennie’s relationship is a consequence of this.
    George and Lennie survive the Great Depression by having a goal they can work towards. “We gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and-”. This shows that they have something to look forward to which gets them through working in poor conditions for little money. It was very common in the 1930s to work towards having the American Dream which is why lots of people decided to work in California where work was fairly stable. However, many of the jobs were still seasonal which meant that the unemployment rate was still very high.

    • mghmghg says:

      I think that you link the novel back to the context of the 1930’s and shows understanding but you could go into even more detail and develop your points more. When you talk about Lennie’s mental disability, could explain more about discrimination etc.
      Could be a little longer but very well done 😀

  15. Tanoa says:

    Question A) How does Steinbeck use details in this passage (pg 88-89) to show the relationship between Curley’s wife and men (Curley and other ranch workers)?
    Steinbeck uses a variety of literary devices such as; language – including style of speech as well as the actual words used by characters and gestures, to present to the reader the various aspects of the nature of the relationship between Curley’s wife and men on the ranch.
    An odd power balance/hierarchy is presented between the characters of Candy, Crooks, Lennie and Curley’s wife in Crooks’ bunkhouse scene. Curley’s wife enters the scene on the defensive, although she does not initially present any aggression towards the three men, she relies on them drawing sympathy from her child-like pleads towards them, in order that they allow her to stay and converse with them, “Well, I ain’t giving you no trouble” “You gotta husban’ (says Candy) “Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy ain’t he? […] He don’t like nobody […] Bring the o’l one-two across”. Curley’s wife is an artist with regard to manipulation through the manner in which she presents herself, especially towards men. She initiates her plead with a sullen tone, denying any agenda or anticipated trouble – as a child and also Lennie does – however, when it is apparent that Candy is unaffected by her façade, she “flares up” and is suddenly on the attack. She manically reels off a list of reasons why Curley is a “bad” husband, Steinbeck includes the use of rhetorical questions in her speech to emphasise the fact that Curley’s wife wishes to draw empathy from the men towards her domestic situation, her frustration is shown as she is forced to vent her despair to a group of men due to the lack of women on the ranch.
    Seen in the previously mentioned passage, is the fact that Candy has adopted an authoritarian role over Curley’s wife, a tone of judgment is apparent as he almost chastises her for wishing for contact with other men aside from her husband. She pleads with him that she “means no harm”, however, following this, she seizes the opportunity to adopt a role of power in the situation once again, by demanding information relating to the breaking of Curley’s hand from the men. Candy then replies in an apprehensive clipped and sullen tone, “Got it caught in a machine.” The roles have been reversed.
    Candy’s initial sense of authority and slight contempt for Curley’s wife is also demonstrated through his gestures upon confrontation from her, “Candy laid the stump of his wrist on his knee and rubbed it gently with his hand”, a stump, which, conventionally, would be deemed as “ugly” and perhaps concealed by the owner is instead, proudly presented upon Candy’s knee by himself and affectionately rubbed – this is a demonstration of Candy’s self worth – he anticipates that Curley’s wife will demoralize him at some point in their conversation. This shows that however hard Curley’s wife may try to appear coy and unassuming towards the ranch’s men, her efforts will forever be in vain as the majority of men, with the exception of Lennie and perhaps Curley can see straight through her.
    Lennie is in awe of Curley’s wife, no matter how obnoxious she comes across towards him and the other ranch workers, “Lennie watched her, his mouth half open”, Lennie is the one man that provides Curley’s wife with exactly what she desires – judgement and undivided attention based upon her appearance rather than her personality. The two are brought together at the climax of the plot, perhaps not solely due to her manipulation of him, but naturally, due to the sharing of loneliness and child-like personality traits between them.

    • Raena says:

      I feel that you analysis of curley’s wife in this specefic passage was extremely well written and detailed. You have thought very carefully about the devices Steinbeck uses and you have contexualised the quotes very well! To improve, which is very little, i would suggest you use shorter, snappier quotes.
      Overall, this was great Tan! Well done!!!

    • Raena says:

      I think this is an excellent analysis of the passage, the points you have made are very detailed and i love you interpretations of them. To improve (which is hardly anything) i would suggest you use shorter snappier quotes.
      Overall this is really good Tan! Well done!

  16. Natalie says:

    Steinbeck uses his tools to evoke the sense that Curley’s wife was a desperate, lonely woman, who tries to attract attention from men in order to feel as though she is wanted and needed. We are shown this through the use of exclamations in her turns, when on page 88 she uses the word ‘baloney’ twice during the same turn with an exclamation after both it shows she is putting emphasis on her point and trying to show that she has views as well, although no-one listens to them as she is a woman and has no other women friends on the ranch. She first comes off as an extrovert by the use of exclamations so frequently, as if she is trying to get the men’s attention so they will lust for her. However we see that she is only using these tools to try and get people to understand her as she has no one to talk to being alone with only Curley and the men, who are of little help to satisfying her need for friendship.
    Curley’s wife takes large turns on both pages while the men seem to have very little to say back to her, and as we see when Lennie says, ‘why… Curley…he’ she makes them feel uncomfortable due to the lack of female contact and the way she will rant without interruption as of her stubborn nature, causes her to come across as controlling and demanding. This in turn makes the weaker men fear her, showing that discrimination causes Curley’s wife to be a strong figure who won’t back down, and although as we see otherwise in the book, she has a good relationship with the men who show her respect, she needs to command the other men to gain their respect. The need for commanding respect means that she takes long turns to prove that she fears no one and gain the respect from the men on the ranch to in turn have a better relationship with them.
    The way that she takes long turns means that she does a lot of topic management to control the conversations, the use of questions, helps her to achieve this. When she asks ‘say… what happened to Curley’s han’?” she is clearly moving on the conversation to show her control over the men she is with. This allows her to feel like she can discriminate against people rather than be the victim of the discrimination for once. As the reader, this gives us the feeling that she knows who she can stand up to, and will victimise the weaker men, Lennie and Crooks, because she has an advantage over them, even though he is a girl. It is almost as if she is putting them in their place, below her for once, and she likes the feeling of power and knowing she’s in charge.
    Another way that Curley’s wife shows she has power is how she uses expletives to refer to the men in the room. She calls them, ‘a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep’ shows she can do what she wants and she doesn’t care because she doesn’t want the male attention from them anymore, after they have showed her so little respect by lieing to her about her husband’s hand and Candy saying ‘you gotta husban’. You got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble.’ So she feels as though she won’t get the right attention from them, as she knows men well enough to know when they want her or not. This portrays that she has spent so much time around men, trying to get the attentuion that she knows when it’s right and when it’s the attention she doesn’t want.

    • izzie says:

      I like this answer as it is very to the point about its multiple different dialogue and narrative effects used on the extract from Of Mice and Men. It offers different interpretations for each point which is interesting and shows each point has had a lot of thought put into its meaning. On the other hand, the essay could be made better by linking these points to the relationship she has with the Ranch men, rather than just Curley’s wifes personality.

  17. Molly says:

    Steinbeck portrays Curley’s wife as a vulnerable, naive but slightly twisted character in “Of Mice and Men”. Curley’s wife is nameless, showing she doesn’t have her own identity and is only known for being married to Curley and therefore belonging to him like property or a pet. She is regretful for marrying Curley as shown in the quote “I don’t like Curley, he ain’t a nice fella” which sums up her attitude to her life; she feels let down and isolated from the rest of the world because she is the only woman in the man’s world of ranch life.
    Despite being in a masculine setting, Steinbeck makes Curley’s wife become an extreme contrast to this setting by trying to glamorise her life with her wearing lots of makeup and trying to look sophisticated and attractive. From the first time the reader meets Curley’s wife, the reader recognises her overtly flirtatious attitude and coquettish and provocative lifestyle. The quote “her fingernails were red” shows that she is making an effort to look her best and be attractive to the men. Red is a vibrant, eye-catching and exotic colour which links to her need to glamorise and make her life more exciting on the ranch. The reason Steinbeck makes Curley’s wife try to glamorise her life is to show women’s attitude to The American Dream. While thousands of American men dreamt of the end of the Economic Depression and owning their own ranches, women, such as Curley’s wife dreamt of the glamorous lifestyle that being a Hollywood actress would bring. As a young 15 year old girl, Curley’s wife was naïve enough to presume that she would be able to become a star and live her Hollywood fantasy, due to this false presumption she feels regretful and disappointed in her life with Curley on the male dominated ranch.
    Steinbeck also uses the colour red in other descriptions of her physical appearance such as “red mules” and “bouquets of red ostrich feathers”, this is very significant as the colour red has connotations of danger and trouble, and so this makes the reader feel wary of Curley’s wife and Steinbeck’s attitude to the colour red suggests Lennie and George should stay as far away from Curley’s wife as possible. Steinbeck repeats the colour red more than once and it is the only colour used to describe Curley’s wife, reiterating and exaggerating the need to stay away from her as she is danger, this also suggests Steinbeck is foreshadowing later events with the constant undertone of danger.
    An alternative reader however, could notice that red is the colour of bloodshed and death, again suggesting Steinbeck is foreshadowing later events. Additionally, red is the colour of the girl’s dress in Weed, which brought panic and worries to Lennie and George so Steinbeck uses this undertone of violence and threat to make the reader worried and build tension.
    Despite Curley’s wife’s promiscuous and flirtatious behaviour, inside she is lonely. “Full, roughed lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made up” draws attention to the fact that Curley’s wife is trying to attract attention from the men, suggesting she feels lonely and isolated. In the 1920’s women weren’t respected and were not regarded nearly as highly as men and so Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife’s character to point out faults with society in the 1920’s and portray that women were discriminated against purely due to their sex. Curley’s wife’s heavy use of makeup has connotation of insecurity and not liking the way she looks and suggests she has a shield of make up to hide behind. She uses her looks to be “purty” and get attention from the men, a feeling she desperately craves from Curley as her husband.
    Additionally, Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife to represent the isolation and alienation that women felt in 1920’s America. “I’m lookin’ for Curley”, shows that Curley’s wife feels alone and segregated from the rest of the ranch and as she isn’t doted on or looked after by her husband, she feels lonely and miserable. Furthermore, she always seems to be saying she is looking for Curley but is never seen to be actively looking for him, this suggests her question is just an excuse to talk to the other ranch workers, suggesting she is looking for something more than her current life, she wants an excuse to wander around the ranch, she is urgently and desperately looking for an escape from her life – Steinbeck’s way of foreshadowing later events and show the reader that women felt exceedingly alone in 1920’s America.

    • Katie says:

      I think this is really well written because you have lots of quotes and good explaination to them. Another thing I like about your answer is that you have put in alternative readings or views from a quote. However to improve it I think you should have made the introduction/conclusion a bit clearer.

    • Lucy says:

      hey molly
      You have written loads.. but its really good
      You have used loads of quotes and “long words” which make your writing sound more sophisticated 😀
      well done

  18. Stacey says:

    Throughout the novel Curley’s wife is always known or presented as Curley’s wife, but never her actual name. This shows that she is seen as a symbol or as a possession of Curley’s but never her own individual person. Steinbeck doesn’t give her a name to represent the sexual discrimination and inequality during the 1930’s. It is almost as if society doesn’t see her as worthy of having her own name, therefore must be defined by Curley.
    Further on in the story when talking to Lennie she states “Could’ been in the movies”. This links to the context of the American Dream. The American dream, which was the dream that many Americans had of one day owning their own land and living of their own backs. The dream that Curley’s Wife has is parallel to that of Candy, Crooks and George.
    Despite being in a male dominant setting, Steinbeck makes Curley’s wife seem overtly feminine to emphasise her isolation due to her repeated use of the colour red in her appearance. The “Rouged lips […] nails were red […] etc. The dominating red colour is the colour of danger and blood which foreshadows her eventual death near the end of the novel. Curley’s wife tries to glamorise her life to make it more exciting than it actually is and to almost make her dream a reality. Another reason to use the colour red is to symbolise a woman with loose morals as she is very flirtatious as she desperately craves attention from the men of ranch which she sadly lacks from her husband. This represents she is isolated and lonely on the ranch due to her sex.
    During the same conversation she says “Ain’t told this to nobody before” when talking about her dream. The fact that she hasn’t told anyone before reflects the loneliness on the ranch as she is the only woman and the men won’t talk to her in fear of Curley’s reaction. This emphasises that society was discriminative towards women during the 1930’s.

  19. Raena says:

    Steinbeck portrays Curley’s wife as a lonely character, who desires male attraction. This is clearly shown in the passage as when Candy tells her that she has a husband she ‘flared up’. Steinbeck does this to illustrate to the reader that she’s not just a superficial, flirtatious women, but one with intelligence as well ; as the reader comes to conclude that she doesn’t like her husband ‘swell guy, aint he’. The use of the rhetorical question used here highlights’ Curley’s wife’s sarcasm, as she can sense that her husband isn’t a popular character and so cunningly tries to engage the men in some conversation by talking about the person whom they dislike. She uses this to her advantage, as this provides her with some material she could interact with the other men.
    Also from the passage Steinbeck refers to Curley’s wife as ‘the girl’, this is to illustrate to the reader, how generally women who lived on the ranches were lonely and were a possession of their husbands rather than a human themselves. This makes the reader sympathise with Curley’s wife as she has no identity and therefore the reader feels that all women on the ranches were treated in the same manner.
    In the passage the reader senses the shift in mood when Curley’s wife enters the bunkhouse and how Candy tries to get rid of her ‘ you got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble’, this highlights how the men can see that she’s a danger to them and will cause trouble for them. Thus Steinbeck uses the structural device of foreshadowing as the men don’t want to be around her, this is quite bizarre and peculiar for the reader as the only women of the ranch would seem to get a great deal of attention from the opposite sex.
    From the passage we come to conclude that Curley’s wife can be a cruel character as she refers to Lennie, Candy and Crooks as ‘Bindle bums; nigger; lousy ol’ sheep;dum-dum’, the use of the expletive ‘nigger’, is not unusual at the specific time, however now we would see it as a very cruel racial remark- something which is not seen by Curley’s wife. Steinbeck shows Curley’s wife in this manner so we can visualise and see that she can also use words to hurt the feelings of others, as a result of the abuse she has been subjected to the men. From this we see that Curley’s wife is an abuser of power as Steinbeck shows her to be victimising weaker men, something she will not have been able to do to ordinary men ( her husband). Thus the reader feels sympathy towards her as she has no power over her life and destiny, as all her hopes and dreams never seemed to happen, thus she turns to the little power she has by mistreating those who are lower than her in the hierarchal order.

    • Molly says:

      Hi 🙂
      I thought your analysis was really good, it was really detailed and you evaluated each of your quotes thoroughly 😀
      I really liked your description about why Steinbeck used particular vocabulary (e.g. “flared up”) and your description of the effect on the reader was also very interesting.
      To improve, you could edit your topic sentences/paragraph starters to make them more to the point and slightly sharper..

    • natalie says:

      I like the way you have picked out original idea from the text about her relationships, and you have included a lot of different devices which shows the competence of the writer and yourself. However I feel as though ‘thus’ was slightly overused in the last sentence and I think if you could tie it all together with an overall conclusion about her relationship with men it would bring together all of your points and it would be a great way to end the answer, which was of a very good standard:)

  20. HannahF says:

    The isolation and discrimination against women is shown through Curley’s wife’s isolation and her relationship with Curley. Curley’s wife is the only women on the ranch and this isolates her. In 1930s America women were treated as second class citizens, Curley’s wife’s isolation could represent the loneliness of other women who were also marginalised. Curley’s wife is not given a name, she is just referred to as ‘Curley’s wife’ this diminishes her and makes her a possession of her husband. At the time women were expected to stay at home and obey their husbands, their lack of freedom is shown through Curley’s possessiveness and jealousy; he doesn’t allow his wife to speak to the other men. Curley’s wife always introduces herself by asking ‘Any of you boys seen Curley?’ or ‘I’m looking for Curley.’ her connection to other humans has to be covered by an excuse, looking for Curley, this emphasise the lack of control she has over her personal relationships and her freedom. She is unhappily married to Curley in an abusive relationship, when Curley is mentioned she is ‘Suddenly apprehensive.’ And later sarcastically asks ‘Swell guy ain’t he?’ this shows her dislike and fear of Curley and reflects the vulnerability of women in society.
    At the end of the book Curley’s wife is killed after talking to Lennie, this suggests that she should have obeyed her husband, however Steinbeck could be trying to show that this could have been avoided if Curley’s wife was less driven by her loneliness and desperation for contact.
    She is materialistic and glamorous which separates her from the ranch workers who are hard working and not bothered with appearances. She wears ‘red ostrich feather’ shoes; this is an exotic item of clothing which contrasts with the plain clothes the ranch workers wear. This was probably an expensive purchase which would have been unnecessary and frivolous given the economic climate at the time. After the Wall Street crash America was plunged into the great Depression and many people lost their jobs and homes. The materialistic nature of Curley’s wife was probably looked down upon and envied by those with little money. The novel presents women as wasteful and frivolous, in a society where women were marginalised and discriminated against, this would emphasise her difference.
    Her flirtatious nature is looked down upon and she is seen as a temptress by the other men. She has ‘rouged lips’ and is ‘heavily made up’. The disapproval of this is shown through George’s negative reaction, ‘Jesus, what a tramp.’ This reflects largely held views of women held at the time.
    Hannah

  21. Anonymous says:

    Qa.

    Steinbeck uses an ironic tone to show how Curley’s wife does not regard her husband highly. When speaking to Candy,She uses the rhetorical question ‘Swell guy , ain’t he?’. THis shows that she has enough moral discernment to recognise her husband as violent. This shows their relationship as dysfunctional and based on criticism not admiration. Her tone implies bitter humour and explicit recongition of his shortcomings. This makes the reader feel pity for her as she is trapped.

    Steinbeck uses exclamatiions and questions to show how Curley’s wife wishes him harm and is morbidly interested in hisinjury exclaiming ‘Baloney!’ when she is told the lie that a machine was responsible, and asks ‘Who bust him?’ Her frank question and clear pleasure in his pain makes the reader feel relieved that she is not entirely a victim.

    Steinbeck also uses the narrator to comment on her expression which ‘lost its sullenness and grew interested’ on hearing about his injury; it is possible that she is interested in the attack as some kind of revenge by proxy – it is implied that Curley has bullied her.

    Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife’s dialogue to show her cruel, dismissive and offensive attitude towards the ranchmen. She refers to them through the demeaning term of address ‘bunch of bindle stiffs’ which is a derogatory colloquialism for a homeless person or itinerant worker. She also refers to Lennie with the colloquial term ‘dum-dum’ which reinforces the idea that she scorns the ranchworkers, as does the adverb ‘contemptuously’ which the narrator describes the way she speaks to Candy. But she also scorns herself because she remains with them ‘because they ain’t nobody else’. Her character is lonely and isolated; she is the only woman on the ranch married to a violent man.

    • (: says:

      I think the use of the different literary devices was really well done, also linking the quotes back to how they make the reader feel was also very good. Maybe you could also include some focus on figurative language or specific words and what they connotate to the reader. Well done! 🙂

  22. izzie says:

    a) Steinbeck cleverly incorporates a number of ironic questions into the dialogue of Curley’s Wife to reveal the unstable relationship between the couple and subtle loathing shared between them. When asked about Curley, she replies with ‘Swell guy, ain’t he?’ which is full of irony and hatred. Her rhetorical question brings us the realisation that she too believes that Curley is a highly overrated character, and actually can’t stand his company any more than the other Ranch Workers can. This is something in which she can relate to with people such as Candy and George; however neither have the guts to say anything about him. To underline her loathing for him even more, she mocks his over-confidence by stating ‘Think I’m gonna stay and listen how Curley’s gonna lead with his left twice?’ This blatant mockery of Curley’s boxing ability is fairly humorous and daring for his wife due to the fact that women had almost as little rights as coloured and disabled people at this period in time. Her disgust for Curley is shared by the other Ranch Workers, however they mention little of it in the fear that he may find out.
    Despite having little power herself as a 1920’s American woman, Steinbeck uses expletives and rude terms of address on behalf of Curley’s Wife towards the three men, to display the power she has over them and to keep herself up in the social hierarchy on the Ranch, perhaps due to fear of being discriminated against even more. She regularly uses the terms ‘You bindle bums’ ‘a nigger an’ a dum-dum and a lousy ol’ sheep’ as if to show her control over the three discriminated against people and show that she cannot be over-ruled by disabled, coloured or mentally disabled men. I think this is due to the fact that she is unhappy with her life as she always hoped to be something more, so now she is taking her anger out on the people below her on the hierarchy scale because she has nothing better to do with her life. Perhaps it also makes her feel a little more important than she already is, due to the fact that she hardly has any rights on the Californian Ranch.
    Steinbeck uses dialogue- in particular topic management of Curley’s Wife- to expose her loneliness in life and the men’s fear of such a head-strong woman. The majority of dialogue is spoken by her, as she takes advantage of the opportunity of having someone to spill her sorrows about life to. She uses the rhetorical question; ‘‘Whatta ya think I am, a kid?’ and then answers it to keep the conversation going. She then lists possible futures she could have had endlessly, almost as if she is scared to stop speaking in case she never gets a chance to again. We see here that Curley’s Wife is far from stupid, and she realises the timid, vulnerable nature of the three Ranch men, and the fact that they would not interrupt her flow of talk due to their weak mental states and fear of her. Her overload of information is also because of the fact that she does not have a very good relationship with anyone on the Ranch, be it Curley or other men, so feels the need to let out all of her emotions whilst she can.
    Steinbeck has included character gestures into the narration to show how the majority of the Ranch Workers feel nervous and anxious when Curley’s Wife is around, which emphasises the tense relationship they have with those of the opposite sex. Due to the fact that women were mainly seen as objects in those days, and Curley’s Wife seemed overly provocative and troublesome, gestures made by Candy in particular generalise the feelings felt towards her. ‘Candy stole a look at Lennie, then he coughed’ shows he is anxious to be around her, and the fact that he coughed nervously reveals he is hiding something and desperately trying to think of what to say to cover up the awkward silence. Also, gestures made towards his disability show his discomfort in the situation such as ‘he laid his stump on his knee and rubbed it gently’. The fact that he is rubbing his wound, evokes the sense that he is vulnerable and hurt by something said, so is rubbing it almost as if to comfort himself and eliminate any pain he’s feeling.

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Your focus on devices is excellent. Your exploration and interpretation is impressive in its precision and originality. You could explicity refer to the ‘effect on the reader’ for each point. However your analyssi is so detailed that this is largely implied. I would award this response close to full marks – 28 or 29 out of 30. Fantastic, well done.

  23. # says:

    A) In this passage, Steinbeck presents the complex and often hostile relationships Curley’s wife has with men through her gestures, her dialogue and her ability to control the conversation.
    When Candy accuses her of causing trouble and asks her to leave, we are told ‘the girl flared up’. Even though women were discriminated against, and their worth was judged on aesthetics during this period, we are shown that she is not the silly air-head that she has been described as previously, but she has sense enough to know when she is being insulted and she re-acts the sway any other person in the world would at this. She is also obviously well educated, as proved by her use of sarcasm when describing her husband. ‘Swell guy, ain’t he?’ This also shows the reader that she isn’t naive and foolish, she realises that Curley isn’t ‘swell’ at all. This makes the reader sympathise towards her, because she is a prisoner in home, as well as in her own mind.
    The theme of power is shown in this passage through Curley’s wife’s ability to control the conversation. When they are talking about Curley’s hand, she quickly turns the conversation onto herself, by commenting on how she could have been in ‘the pitchers’. This shows her craving for attention and how she wants to make herself feel more important and feminine in the very masculine world that she lives in. This sense of power and importance soon goes to her head though.
    Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife She never calls the three other characters in this passage by their names. Her lust for power and importance makes her think that she can call Candy, Lennie and Crooks very insulting names such as ‘bindle stiffs’, ‘nigger’ and ‘dum-dum’. Steinbeck is presenting the cycle of abuse through her actions at this point i.e. the abused becomes the abuser. This eliminates all sympathy that the reader may have felt towards her earlier in the passage, and leaves us feeling quite hostile towards her at this point. These sudden changes in attitude towards Curley’s wife, show the unstable and sometimes hostile world that Curley’s wife has to endure, which explains the relationships she has with other characters in the passage.

  24. Scarlett says:

    A)
    In this passage, Steinbeck presents the complex and often hostile relationships Curley’s wife has with men through her gestures, her dialogue and her ability to control the conversation.

    When Candy accuses her of causing trouble and asks her to leave, we are told ‘the girl flared up’. Even though women were discriminated against, and their worth was judged on aesthetics during this period, we are shown that she is not the silly air-head that she has been described as previously, but she has sense enough to know when she is being insulted and she re-acts the sway any other person in the world would at this. She is also obviously well educated, as proved by her use of sarcasm when describing her husband. ‘Swell guy, ain’t he?’ This also shows the reader that she isn’t naive and foolish, she realises that Curley isn’t ‘swell’ at all. This makes the reader sympathise towards her, because she is a prisoner in home, as well as in her own mind.
    The theme of power is shown in this passage through Curley’s wife’s ability to control the conversation. When they are talking about Curley’s hand, she quickly turns the conversation onto herself, by commenting on how she could have been in ‘the pitchers’. This shows her craving for attention and how she wants to make herself feel more important and feminine in the very masculine world that she lives in. This sense of power and importance soon goes to her head though.

    Steinbeck presents Curley’s wife She never calls the three other characters in this passage by their names. Her lust for power and importance makes her think that she can call Candy, Lennie and Crooks very insulting names such as ‘bindle stiffs’, ‘nigger’ and ‘dum-dum’. Steinbeck is presenting the cycle of abuse through her actions at this point i.e. the abused becomes the abuser. This eliminates all sympathy that the reader may have felt towards her earlier in the passage, and leaves us feeling quite hostile towards her at this point. These sudden changes in attitude towards Curley’s wife, show the unstable and sometimes hostile world that Curley’s wife has to endure, which explains the relationships she has with other characters in the passage.

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Very well written Scarlett. Much more detailed and specific than previous essays. I like your focus on the three main devices. If you were slightly more concise you could cover 4 or 5 different devices. This shows insight and exploration and would achieve a A/A* borderline mark. Well done.

  25. bonnie ok says:

    Steinbeck uses Curley’s anonymous wife as a quality of bad-doings. She is perceived not once in a positive light and, because of this, can be seen as only bringing hardships to the novel.
    When she is introduced, her first impression is solely of appearance. ‘She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes’. Her characteristics and mannerisms are left to explore later on and her physiognomies are explored more. This demonstrates the way of which women were viewed; as an object of aspects- how they think, what they want, did not matter in the 1930s, and are blatantly disregarded in the novel also.
    Moreover, the few times we get to see another side of Curley’s Wife, we are greeted with the flirtatious persona Steinbeck has given her. She is somewhat seen to sexualize the smallest of movements- ‘leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward’ as if trying to emphasize to the men around her that she is here; she has a body, they should look at it. This could be the only way she deems acceptable to act around the opposite sex, which, again, reflects the scale of women’s importance in the 1930s.
    She also establishes the relevance to the American Dream in the 1930s, and fulfills the stereotype of what women wanted. Curley’s Wife dreamed of being an actress, ‘to work in Hollywood and become a famous actress’, and she is seen to glamourize her rather mundane and sad life with her image and appearance. How she dresses; red, full length dresses, her hair done- makeup applied- is comical compared to the setting around her.
    Loneliness, also, was a huge occurrence in that time scale. Curley’s Wife was in a loveless marriage and had probably no friends to herself; she almost relied on the other men for company and conversation. ‘“You got no call foolin’ aroun’ with other guys, causin’ trouble”’ is directed at her and albeit she craves this attention from the men, they only see her as a sly threat to their comfortable lives. Her marriage to Curley was most probably a service as to not having to sort out a life for herself and marrying a man to have a planned out life was a common normality for women at the time.
    The hierarchy scale of importance in that time period also relates back to her, as albeit she is of low importance, Crooks is worse off as he is black. Due to this and Curley’s Wife’s understanding of it, she takes advantage of him and the abused becomes the abuser. Her naivety is forgotten when it comes to Crooks, and she intimidates and bullies him, even interjecting to him that she could get him ‘lynched’.
    Overall, Curley’s Wife is a pivotal character throughout the novel and she gives a clear understanding of women’s ability in the 1930s.

  26. Lucy says:

    b) How is Curley’s wife presented in the novel as a whole and what does this show you about the society she lived in? Remember to focus on linking quotes from the text with contextual understanding (A04)
    In the novel “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, Curley’s wife is presented as a flirtatious, but lonesome young lady who basically has no place in society; initially she is seen as the possession of her husband.
    Throughout the novel she is referred to as “Curley’s wife”. She has no real name leaving the reader to guess her character. By not giving her a name Steinbeck highlights the fact that this woman, in 1930’s America, is held in very low regard. She wonders the ranch alone dreaming about Hollywood; “I was gonna be in the movies”; and trying to attract some attention from the male workers by wearing many “red” items of clothing, like a red rag to a bull, and behaving in a coquettish manner.
    Although Curley’s wife is discriminated against and not highly regarded, she does have a higher place in society than Crooks “the negro-black, stable buck”. She uses this to her advantage and achieves a sense of power by threatening to get him “lynched” by accusing him of rape, which would mean certain death – “I could get you strung up in a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.” This quote shows how Curley’s wife victimises people lower than her to give her the feeling of a superior being that she often doesn’t get.
    In the novel, Curley’s wife is often seen to “be looking for Curley”. The ranch workers often find her in the bunk house, whereby she states she is looking for her husband. However, the reader soon discovers that she is unhappy with Curley and is trying to get herself another man. She attempts to pull this lonesome act off to the workers but ends up making herself look like a ‘tart’ by her flirtatious actions. While she thinks she is doing a good job, the men begin to realise what she is really like; “jailbait” and “I think Curley married a tart” convey this. Then again, Curley’s wife does have some recognition that the ranch life is not for her as aren’t the workers. “Ranch ain’t no place for a girl”.

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Your analysis of character is excellent and you use a range of quotes effectively. You make some valid observations regarding her place as a woman and she position in relation to a black man which is relevant for AO4 context but you need to be far more explicit when you talk about context. You offer no factual historical detail abotu women in 1930s America – all your points are about the world of the novel. You could also discuss the American Dream in relation to her dream. 16/30 a B grade because there is not sufficient AO4 context. This is easy to put right….

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