Homework Help

How does Steinbeck present Curley's wife in Of Mice and Men?  What techniques does...

user profile pic

scholey1 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:40 AM via web

dislike 1 like

How does Steinbeck present Curley's wife in Of Mice and Men?

 

What techniques does Steinbeck use to describe the character of Curley's wife?

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted February 4, 2012 at 3:26 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Curley's wife is characterized in several ways in Of Mice and Men.

She is discussed by other characters when she is not present, which serves to establish a "hear-say" about her. This discussion leads to a definition of her character as "a tart" and a trouble-maker.

The unstated reason she is seen as a trouble-maker is that the men find her attractive and so are concerned that, despite their better judgment, they may be taken in by her.

Curley's wife is also defined by her actions. She repeatedly comes into the bunk house and other places where the men might be, while saying that she is looking for Curley. This is a lie and it is presented as a lie in the novel. The simply duplicity of the obvious lie helps to define Curley's wife as dishonest and unintelligent.

Finally, she is defined by her own speech. At this point, when speaking with Lennie, Curley's wife becomes a sympathetic and even pathetic character who is seen to have little to no control over the circumstances of her own life.

Additionally, Curley's wife is never given a name. This lack of information also serves to characterize her as holding a marginal status on the ranch.

Sources:

user profile pic

hilarious6 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 17, 2012 at 8:32 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like
This is the kinda question I am doing in my essay. Steinbeck relates to how women didn't have power in the 1930's and makes her seem desperately lonely and isolated, from the others at the ranch. She has sexual power which she uses to get to the men on the ranch, and she just needs someone to talk to. She dislikes her husband and has a desire to become a famous Movie Star. She is not seen as a woman and has no name, this shows she is Curley's property and does not have enough power to be called a woman. Instead, she is called a girl. Hope that answers your question !

Sources:

user profile pic

hilarious6 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted February 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like
Steinbeck relates to how women didn't have power in the 1930's and makes her seem desperately lonely and isolated, from the others at the ranch. She has sexual power which she uses to get to the men on the ranch, and she just needs someone to talk to. She dislikes her husband and has a desire to become a famous Movie Star. She is not seen as a woman and has no name, this shows she is Curley's property and does not have enough power to be called a woman. Instead, she is called a girl. Hope that answers your question !

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes