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Published: 20-09-2019

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Curley's Wife and Female Stereotype

One particular poignant example of the misperceptions that girls face in a male-dominated society is presented in the novel Of Mice and Guys by John Steinbeck. The story requires spot in the Dust Bowl era, when rough financial times produced it difficult to locate work two farmhands, George and Lennie, manage to take a job at a ranch. They meet many men and women at the farm, such as the boss’s son Curley, who is disliked by a lot of – like, notably, his wife. Despite the fact that she is seen by the other males as flirtatious and provocative, Steinbeck generates sympathy for Curley’s wife by presenting the men’s opinions on her, then revealing her correct self by way of dialogue at the end of the novel, in the end suggesting that the way other people see her could not be how she genuinely is.

Though the males at the ranch do not know her, they still have set preconceptions about Curley’s wife. They immediately judge her by the way she dresses, acts, and the reality that she is a woman- the only woman on the ranch, in fact. Throughout the novel, they call her a “tart” and “tramp”. When George and Lennie 1st arrive at the ranch, the old swamper Candy tells them about her: “She got the eye… I believe Curley’s married a tart,” (28). Candy does not really know her, and just utilizes her as a way to describe Curley – as if she is just a single of his qualities and not a individual. Upon hearing what Candy has to say, George tells Lennie: “You keep away from her, ‘cause she’s a rat-trap if I ever observed one particular,” George has only heard a few things about her, but makes use of these handful of thoughts and his preconceptions against girls to assume that she is what everyone says she is.

One more way Steinbeck generates sympathy for Curley’s wife is by possessing her observed as an object, rather than a human with feelings. Throughout the book she’s only referred to as “Curley’s wife”. Steinbeck doesn’t even give her a name, choosing to allude to her as a mere possession of Curley’s. This shows how she is trapped beneath Curley’s energy, as nicely as how insignificant ladies had been to guys in that time period. When Curley’s wife has the chance to open up about her feelings, she tells Lennie: “‘You can speak to folks, but I can not talk to no one but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to speak to anyone?’” (87) She’s really lonely on the ranch since she is the only lady, and Curley doesn’t want her speaking to any person else- however she never receives consideration from him. This is what makes her adopt a flirtatious manner, simply because she tries to achieve that lost focus from the other men on the ranch. This causes the other men to view her as a “tart”, and the cycle of oppression keeps repeating since ladies aren’t noticed as their personal individual like males are.

Towards the end of the novel, Curley’s wife shows another side of her when speaking one-on-one particular with Lennie. She finally opens up and reveals her pent-up feelings: “‘Wha’s the matter with me?’ she cried. ‘Ain’t I got a appropriate to speak to no one? Whatta they think I am, anyways…. I ain’t doin’ no harm to you…. Seems like they ain’t none of them cares how I gotta live’” (87). She knows that the other males dislike her, but doesn’t realize why, and it makes her really feel alone and upset. Curley’s wife also opens up about her past, and how she practically produced it to Hollywood. “‘I inform you I ain’t utilised to livin’ like this. I coulda created somethin’ of myself” (88). She could’ve turn out to be a famous actress, but her mother didn’t let her. In truth, she only married Curley to get away from her mother. Prior to this scene, readers only know what the other guys say about her. Now, upon hearing Curley’s wife’s true story, they know the factors for what she does and can sympathize with her.

Steinbeck’s portrayal of Curley’s wife permits the reader to sympathize with her. At initial she is presented as a provocative lady whom the men dislike. Even so, by the end of the story, Steinbeck has her speak about her accurate feelings, and this enables the reader to have a far better understanding of her character. The way in which Steinbeck has written reinforces the fact that stereotypes or preconceptions against females are not always correct, and that regardless of facades of all sorts, absolutely everyone has his or her own story.
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