In Chapter 4, what is your opinion of Curley's wife? Has your opinion changed since the beginning of novel?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In chapter four of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Curley's wife does do all of the things the previous editor states.  We also see more of her sympathetic side in the closing pages of the work when she talks to Lennie in the barn.

However, what she does to Crooks in chapter four reveals such a negative, manipulative, ignorant part of her character and her personality that it is difficult to feel any sympathy for her.

When Crooks stands up to her, she plays, figuratively speaking, the reverse race card.  She threatens him with her ability to get Crooks, a black man, lynched by saying that he tried something sexual with her, a white woman. 

She destroys his spirit and puts him back in his place, as both her, and society for that matter, see it. 

This is a despicable example of what Curley's wife is like.  It's hard to feel sympathy for her after this. 

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In this chapter, Curley's wife grows a little bit of personality. Up until this chapter, she was only looking for Curley at almost every opportunity for dialogue.

In chapter 4, Curley's wife shows a little judgement, desire for relationship, defensiveness, and intellect. She notes that she can talk to any one guy if she gets him alone, but together it's like they are afraid to talk. She thinks something happened to Curley's hand other than what the guys say happened. She also shows that her relationship with Curley isn't fulfilling. He is not a friend. Each of these instances prove to me that she is good at reading people. She's had to be quick-witted in her life. She really just wants a friend and the truth. These shouldn't be too much to ask. In my book, all of this evidence can be found about 5 pages from the end of the chapter.

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