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How Does Steinbeck Present the Character of Curley’s Wife?

  • Date Submitted: 04/15/2012 02:07 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.9 
  • Words: 658
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Curley’s wife is one of the main characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’ and is heavily involved in the outcome of the story when George ends up shooting Lennie. She is a character that is talked about a lot by the other characters and is portrayed as a bit of a tart.
Curley’s wife is trying to get attention a lot of the time she appears in the book. Her first appearance shows us straight away that she wants to be looked at and that she is attention seeking, ‘She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward’. Steinbeck uses the word ‘thrown’ to show that she was pushing her body forward on purpose, that she wanted people to look at her. It shows she was standing very noticeably like that as ‘thrown’ is a very bold word.  
Curley’s wife may put across that she is very bold and confident but as the book goes on Steinbeck starts to show a weaker, more vulnerable side to her. She is shown as quite lonely which is why she goes and seeks male attention. She is putting on a mask. ‘ “I get lonely” ’ she doesn’t seem to be happy in her marriage with Curley and as there is no other female on the ranch, she has to dress to impress to get noticed.
Curley’s wife is very flirtatious throughout the book, this is mainly because she lives to impress other people, she has acted like someone else’s possession for so long that she feels that she needs to impress people all the time. ‘ “Nobody can’t blame someone for lookin’ ” ’ Also the fact that we never find out her name also shows that people see her as ‘Curley’s wife’ and not as her own person.
Curley’s wife is seen as a very dangerous character, especially for Lennie. If he meddles with her then he is bound to get himself into trouble, but she manipulates him anyway. ‘ “She’s a jail bait all set on the trigger” ’ this shows that she is always waiting to make her move, and as soon as she sees an opportunity, she will...


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