Steinbeck presents Curley’s Wife as immature and childish by her descriptions and her comments. Curley’s Wife is not called a woman, but a mere “girl.” Steinbeck does this to show the reader how childish she appears, as she is seen by the men to be merely a girl, and not fully matured and grown up. This in turn shows the reader how immature she can be, as she is already associated with being a child. Furthermore, she tells Lennie that she “don' like Curley.” This italicization of “like” emphasizes the fact that Curley’s Wife truly dislikes Curley, yet she married him, which further exhibits her immaturity to the reader as it is a clear example of acting without thinking of the consequences, as she is now miserable with her marriage. In addition, when describing her failed dream, she claims her mother stole a letter inviting her to Hollywood to be an actress. When she confronted her mother, “she [said] no,” and “so [Curley’s Wife] married Curley.” This also reveals her immaturity to the reader, as it implies that she is punishing her mother because of the word “so.” It makes clear to the reader that she married Curley because her mother claimed not to have taken the letter, which is extremely juvenile, as she has ended up being miserable with Curley, and it shows she never thought out her actions for their consequences, and acted fully on impulse, something a childish and immature person would do.
Furthermore, Steinbeck portrays Curley’s Wife as an unfaithful person and a “tart” through what other characters say of her. Candy ...
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...t she cannot talk to anyone “but Curley,” the reader can see that Curley’ Wife is an extremely lonely character, as she has no one she can talk to that she would enjoy having a conversation with. She also cannot talk to any of the ranch workers, as it is deemed unacceptable by society for a married woman to be conversing freely with men, and especially not flirting with them. This, together with her first hand complaint that she is “lonely” illustrates clearly to the reader how Curley’s Wife is a lonely person.
Steinbeck successfully portrays Curley’s Wife in many different perspectives, ranging from a bitter, predatory woman, to a lonely, powerless girl. His clever manipulation of Curley’s Wife’s personality, and her actions and interactions with other characters manages to reach the reader, and conveys to the reader the complexity of her character.
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