What features does Steinbeck use to present Curley when we first meet him in chapter 2 of Of Mice and Men?
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When Curley is first introduced, we get the idea that he is a hot-head and obsessed with his new wife. He is described as “a thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair” which is why he is called Curley (ch 2). Curley is described as dressing in a somewhat aristocratic way, as if to separate himself from the lowly ranch hands.
He wore a work glove on his left hand, and, like the boss, he wore high-heeled boots. (ch 2)
The glove is to keep his hand soft for his wife.
Curley is violent and impulsive. He does not react well to Lennie’s size. Look how Steinbeck describes his reaction to seeing George and Lennie for the first time. Curley is described as “handy” so he seems to want to fight.
His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a slight crouch. His glance was at once calculating and pugnacious. (ch 2)
This is a strong element of characterization and foreshadowing. We know that Curley will make trouble for George and Lennie, and we can assume that something terrible will happen involving Curley. Curley "is willing to fight at the drop of a hate" but "is really a coward, and backs down against Lennie's strength (enotes characters).
Thanks :) Sarah x
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