Sunday, January 23, 2011
Of Mice & Men -- Chapter Five Prompt
In the novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck reveals through the characterization of Curley’s Wife that women are left out of the American dream. Curley’s Wife is seen as a “tramp”. The men always talk about her negatively but we barely get to hear from her until the end of the story. Time and time again the men tell Curley to keep his wife away from them. Though she has no name she is a significant character in the novella because she represents how women were treated. “ I get lonely, You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley.” Curley’s wife just needs a person to talk to. She feels confined in her life, and wants to leave the ranch. Just as Crook’s feel isolated from others she feels the same way. Steinbeck does not portray her as an evil person in this story rather as a victim of a perception of women that became their reality. Curley’s wife has dreams of going to Hollywood and being a star, although the American dream was the goal everyone was working towards, it was practically impossible for her. Curley's Wife symbolizes every girl in America at the time. With a life of true isolation she was not even given an opportunity to attempt to achieve her dreams; she is pushed into being a cold, harsh women. "Sure I gotta husban'. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain't he? Spends all his time sayin' what he's gonna do to guys he don't like, and he don't like nobody." This shows that she is not satisfied with just being Curley's wife, she wants to form her own identity. The absence of her name shows she has not true identity. Curley's wife did not deserve to die when she was the victim of such a confined life. She was misunderstood and portrayed as a “tramp”, when the only other women alive in the book were the ones working at the whorehouse and they were viewed as nice ladies. Those girls had more freedom than her because they were not considered property of one man. Through the Characterization of Curley's Wife Steinbeck illustrates how women in the 1930’s were left out of the American dream.