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How are Curley's Wife and women in general presented in the book in "Of Mice and...

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rsadoughi | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 27, 2013 at 11:03 AM via

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How are Curley's Wife and women in general presented in the book in "Of Mice and Men"?

Use direct references from the book to justify your answers.

Preferably give you r answers in the form of PEE or PEEL chains.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 27, 2013 at 3:23 PM (Answer #1)

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Curley's wife is presented as one of the "powerless" in the book, situated at the low end of the social heirarchy. She appears in the scene that takes place in Crooks' room in the stable, which signifies her status as being similar to the Lennie, Crooks, and Candy - figures who are disabled and disempowered in one way or another.

Candy is one-handed and old. Crooks has a crooked spine and is a minority. Lennie is mentally handicapped. Curley's wife is also a minority and has little physical strength. 

If there weren't so many of these characters, we might see them as outsiders. Since there are four of them, we almost have to say that these characters for a group of socially powerless and literally powerless people.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:57 PM (Answer #2)

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In Of Mice and Men, women are nameless and only seem to cause trouble.

Early in the book we learn that the reason George and Lennie are on the movie is that Lennie got into an altercation with a woman, and they had to run.  Lennie is child-like and has no inhibitions, and apparently he tried to touch her dress and she panicked.  People assume Lennie is dangerous and going to assault a woman.

When the boys reach the ranch, the only woman mentioned is Curley’s wife.  That’s it, that’s how she is labeled in the book.  She has no name.  She is described as a tart and a tease.

The first mention of Curley’s wife is that she is pretty, and when they first see her, she is sticking her head in.

Her face was heavily made up. Her lips were slightly parted. She breathed strongly, as though she had been running. (ch 4)

George is worried that Curley’s wife is only out to make trouble, but we later learn that she is also lonely.  She seems to have no friends and no one to talk to, and the men are suspicious of her.

"Wha's the matter with me?" she cried. "Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody? Whatta they think I am, anyways? (ch 5)

In the end, Curley’s wife is the catalyst for Lennie’s destruction.  He accidentally kills her, but it isn’t her fault.  She was lonely, and just wanted someone to talk to.

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