Character analysis of Curley's wife and Slim.
1221 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)
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Character analysis of Curley's wife and Slim.
Steinbeck managers to deliver Curley's wife and Slim's description of
their characters so clearly because we get told what people think of
them but then we get given their clear precise description of them so
we can make our judgement of their personality.
We first hear about Curley's wife by Candy when he tells George and
Lennie. This is a bit of gossip that Candy tells George about Curley's
wife and it is also the opinion of most of the ranch workers. Now
Candy is a gossip and he wants to tell George and he does it very
effectively. Candy makes sure that George is on his side and you can
tell that he feels a bit safer when George agrees with him. We are
told that Curley's wife is very beautiful and a bit of a flirt when
Candy says, 'I seen her give Slim the eye.' 'An' I seen her give
Carlson the eye.' Candy's opinion of Curley's wife is emphasized when
he says to George, 'Know what I think?' 'Well, I think Curley's
married â€¦ a tart' Steinbeck has given us a general Idea about her
character but then he builds upon that by introducing her to George
and Lennie. As soon as she walks in to the bunkhouse signs start to
emerge. Her figure cuts off the sunlight from outside, 'the rectangle
of sunshine in the doorway was cut off.' This makes the bunkhouse dark
and dark is a sign for trouble and evil. Her description is very vivid
and mentions the colour red, which is a very symbolised colour. 'She
had full, rouged lips' 'Her fingernails were red.' 'She wore a cotton
house dress and red mules, on the instep of which were little bouquets
of red ostrich feathers.' Red is a symbol of danger but it can also
mean love and passion. Red is also the colour that enrages a bull and
since Lennie has been described and related to different animals I
think Lennie could be a bull as well. Another detail that is made
about Curley's wife is that 'Her voice had a nasal, brittle quality.'
This is different to all of her other details because it suggests that
she is also very fragile. A clue again relating to her being fragile
is when she asks Slim if he has seen Curley. When Slim says that
Curley is looking for her she reacts in a way that I think she is
scared of Curley, 'She was suddenly apprehensive.' Another aspect that
Steinbeck managers to deliver is that she is called Curley's wife
which seems to indicate that nobody has ever stayed long enough to get
close to her to find out her real name and that she is viewed as a
possession of Curley's and not a human being. George having heard what
she is like and with Lennie talking to her they both take to opposite
views to her. George takes a negative view and is very cold to her,
'Jesus, what a tramp.' This maybe because George has spoken to Candy
and has heard all the gossip about her so that might have affected his
judgement about Curley's wife. Lennie who hasn't heard all the gossip
about Curley's wife takes a very positive view, 'Lennie watched her,
fascinated.' 'Gosh, she was purty.' George realises this and tells
Lennie to stay away, 'Listen to me you crazy bastard! Don't you ever
take a look at that bitch. I don't care what she says and what she
does. I seen 'em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait
worse than her. You leave her be.' On what Steinbeck has written I can
tell that Curley's wife is not a complete tart. I can tell that she is
lonely but she attempts to overcome her loneliness in the wrong way.
George immediately realises that she means trouble when she first
turns up in the bunkhouse because of what happened in Weed, and it is
hardly surprising that her actions lead her new husband to be fiercely
Steinbeck shows Curley's wife and Slim in complete contrast. The ranch
workers dislike Curley's wife and Slim is a friend to everyone
including Curley's wife. Slim is a jerkline skinner and this is a
position that carries a lot of authority and power. Slim's description
is extremely vivid and clear. Steinbeck writes about him that he is
very tall and takes a pride in his appearance, 'while he combed his
long, black, damp hair straight back.' I have been imprinted on with
an impression that Slim is a person of great importance but he doesn't
boast about it. Steinbeck describes his physical appearance in a very
different approach, 'His hands, large and lean, where so delicate in
their action as those of a temple dancer.' This is Steinbeck
suggesting that he is wise and mysterious and maybe with special
powers. What Steinbeck managers to clearly say about Slim is that all
the ranch workers look up to him and like him. This can be seen
because Candy considers Slim to be a match for Curley in a fight,
although Curley was once a fighter and Slim has never been in a fight
before. This illustrates the depth of respect the men feel for him. It
is also said that, 'There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so
profound that everyone stop when he spoke.' 'His authority was so
great that his word was taken on any subject, be it politics or love.'
Not only is Slim kind and friendly to his fellow labourers, we also
see him exchange friendly words with Curley's wife. He seems to be the
only one who realises that Curley's wife may not simply be a 'tart',
she may merely be lonely. If he does think she is a tart, he doesn't
hold it against her as the other men do. Slim doesn't attempt to judge
her, when he doesn't know her well enough. His character becomes even
clearer when he shows he is kind and considerate. Slim smiles and is
very friendly when he sees George and Lennie. Steinbeck manages to
show that he is kind, friendly and considerate so well when he talks
to George later about what happened to them in Weed. George seems to
like Slim because otherwise he wouldn't of told Slim. The way has the
ability to talk to people and make George open up makes me think of
Slim of being a kind of councillor, 'George fell silent. He wanted to
talk. Slim neither encouraged nor discouraged him. He just sat back
quiet and receptive.' Lennie has also taking a liking to Slim because
he has told Lennie that he can have one of his puppies. His main
points on his character is that he is also very intelligent and
perceptive, and he has a good sense of justice and fairness.
So Steinbeck manages to describe his characters so vividly that he
gives us different descriptions of them each with different opinions.
It's using this that helps us to understand them. George and Lennie
both react different to each character which is interesting with both
of their characters contrast for example George is clever and small
whilst Lennie is dumb and big.
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