How is Curley's wife presented in Crooks' room?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I see Curley's wife presented in a venomous manner in Chapter 4 of Steinbeck's work.  There is a certain amount of savage cruelty that she shows to the three men, reducing them and their dreams to ashes with her words.  In her statement that she could have Crooks lynched because he is a man of color, and how she dismisses Candy's protestations, it just makes sense that she completely discards Lennie.  The three men are engaged in a potential discussion of their own dreams, and Curley's wife enters the room as this angel of their dreams' deaths.  She is shown to be particularly brutal in how she dissects their own hopes, the cold and calculating manner with which she disposes of their own aspirations as well as their hope to obtain some level of power in their own lives.  Curley's wife's depiction as a type of "femme fatale" of the ranch seems to be heightened at this point in the novel.  She is shown to be someone of intense brutality, and someone who is wounded in the lack of accomplishment in her own life, something that we will come to know in the very next scene.  The fact that she seems to be displacing her own suffering on the hopes of the men reflects both her hurt and her cruelty.

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