What do you believe was the producer's real intetions for Curley's Wife? Why did her mother refuse and hide the letter?
I belive it was because that the "producer" was really a pimp and he was looking for a new girl. He found a canditite in Curley's wife because she was desparte and looking for love.
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Motion pictures have always offered escape to the masses. During the Great Depression this was especially the case because people so badly needed escape from their problems and their fears. Many movies of the period deliberately presented stories in which the hero or heroine magically obtains all the things that people desire, including love, riches, success, and fame. Naturally there were many young viewers who took these fantasies for fact, and Curley's wife was only one of them. Movies could reach into every nook and cranny of America. Movie making became centered in Hollywood, just a few miles west of downtown Los Angeles, because of the good weather conditions in Southern California--lots of sunshine and very little rain. Old-time motion-picture cameras and motion-picture film needed sunlight for shooting outdoors. Cowboy pictures were extremely popular, and these were mostly shot outdoors in the nearby foothills. So Hollywood became a magnet for people who conceived the dream of "getting into pictures." There were a lot of films featuring children in the 1930s. Many mothers got the idea that their own kids might make them a fortune if they brought them out to Hollywood. During part of this period little Shirley Temple was the number-one box-office attraction. The Hollywood scene during the Great Depression years is beautifully covered in Nathanael West's novel The Day of the Locust (1939), which was made into an excellent movie with the same title in 1975.
At first titled The Cheated, Nathanael West’s final work, The Day of the Locust, takes its title from the plague of locusts set upon the pharaoh in the Book of Exodus. The Day of the Locust leaves the reader with a pervasive sense of horror that civilization is being destroyed. All the characters in the novel are cheated; they swarm to 1930’s Hollywood in search of cinematic dreams. When these dreams prove to be bogus, these characters, mostly from the lower middle class, turn violent. (From e-Notes "Summary"--see link below.)
Nathanael West was only one of many writers who was attracted to Hollywood because of the big money to be made. Others included Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy Parker, Raymond Chandler, Robert Benchley, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hollywood continues to attract all kinds of hopefuls, but the odds against success are growing greater all the time. Many attractive girls, as well as attractive young men, come to Hollywood to get into pictures and end up as prostitutes.
Throughout Of Mice and Men, Curley's wife often responds to attention and flattery. That she has no identity other than that which others give her is apparent from her name, a mere genitive of her husband's. Curley's wife's life is but a mirror of her illusions; she, like the bindle stiffs, lives a life of quiet desperation which is composed of dreams, not realities.
In addition to this characteristic, like many who have nothing, Curley's wife feels the need to boast, to have a dream. She wishes to make herself seem more important, so she brags that a man was going to put her in the movies: "Soon's he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it." After saying this, she looks closely at Lennie "to see whether she was impressing him'And, when the letter does not arrive, Curley's wife blames her mother for stealing it.
Actually, we can't be sure that the man ever did send Curley's wife a letter. He was probably just flattering her, chatting her up, but she desperately wanted to believe that that he really meant what he said and that she had a genuine chance of making it big. So she preferred to think that the reason she didn't get the letter was because her mother wanted to deliberately thwart her. This meant that she didn't have to face up to the cold fact that there was probably never any letter at all. This way, it was easier for her to go on dreaming about a whole different life for herself.
Curley's wife was just one of millions of girls all across the United States who acquired fantasies about being movie stars from going to the movies and reading movie magazines. Many of these girls actually went to Hollywood to be "discovered." They stood a better chance of getting into the pictures by being in the Hollywood area, but the odds were heavily against them. A good book about Hollywood in those days is Nathaniel West's "Day of the Locust." It was made into a good movie with the same title. Curley's wife is also too young to be a movie actress. One of the men refers to her as "the kid," and others refer to her as being "jailbait," meaning underage. Judging from what she tells Lennie about herself in the barn, she is only about sixteen years old. She wouldn't know anything about how to get into the pictures, how to get an agent, how to go on casting calls, how to act in an audition. She would end up being exploited by not one but dozens of men, many of whom would promise to help her with her chosen career. She might get a little work as an extra and a little as a model, but she would most likely end up as a prostitute.
Curley's wife was just one of several characters who had unrealistic dreams in Of Mice and Men. Most likely she was just being duped by an unkind man who wanted to take advantage of her. Steinbeck was showing how peoples' dreams can be used to control them by unethical predators. The world that Steinbeck's characters inhabit can be a cruel place. That's why the relationship between George and Lennie is special, they really care for an look out for one another.
I also think your reading is accurate.
Curley's wife was probably just one of many women fed the line, "You should be in the movies." My guess is that her mother A) could see that there was no chance of her daughter getting into the movies and B) recognized the traveling man as a predator.
This anecdote, shared with Lennie in the barn, is evidence of the nature of Curley's wife's particular type of hopelessness. We learn that she is not the cunning, mean-hearted "tart" we were led to believe she was. Instead, she is a gullible, embittered young woman who is not intellectually or emotionally capable of changing her situation.
We can sympathize with her willingness to believe that she could be in the movies, but we can no longer fear her potency as a character.
I agree that it is not likely that she really would have been in pictures. She is pretty, but not that pretty. She also seems uneducated and kind of naive. I think it is likely that this man was trying to trick her.
I think Curley's Wife never had a chance at the movies. The man offering the chance was either lying about his position or was exaggerating her beauty to seduce her. Because of her naivety, I think the thought of being in the movies has lingered on Curley's Wife's mind (and she doesn't doubt the thought, because of her low intelligence), and she just wants to believe that she may have had a chance at a better life. Also, I think the "producer" never sent the letter and Curley's Wife didn't want to believe this so she reassured herself that it had always been her Mother's fault. Either way, I think Curley's Wife is very gullible to think that she would ever have had a chance at the pictures.
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