Curley's Wife

Good Essays
Curley's Wife


At first, Curley's wife is described to the reader through the comments of the men on

the ranch. Candy tells Lennie and George when he first meets them that she ' got the

eye' for the men on the ranch, even though she has only been married to Curley for

two weeks. Candy thinks that she is 'a tart'.

We first meet Curley's wife when she comes into the bunkhouse, when Lennie and

George are in there. She is apparently looking for Curley but she already knows that

new men have arrived. Steinbeck gives a detailed description of her as she stands in

the doorway of the bunkhouse and talks to Lennie and George. She is 'heavily made

up', with 'full rouged lips' and red fingernails. Her body language is provocative as

she positions herself in the doorway so that 'her body was thrown forward'. She

smiles 'archly' and 'twitched her body'. The general impression the reader gains is of

a young girl who is pretty and wants the attention of men.

George's reaction to Curley's wife, however, makes the reader realize that she is a

potential threat to the two men. George sees her as 'poison' and 'jailbait'. He is angry

with Lennie's admiration of her 'she's purty' and fiercely tells him that he must stay

away from her. 'Don't you even take a look at that bitch.' Later, when we find out

what happened at Weed, where Lennie frightens a woman by stroking her dress and

they are forced to flee the town from a lynch mob, we understand why George is so

alarmed that she will be the cause of more trouble for them.

Whit's opinion of Curley's wife is one of bewilderment, he sees

through the flirty appearance and just sees a girl trying too seek

attention, but he still doesn't understand why she acts like ...

... middle of paper ...

...only married Curley to get away from home. She

met him at the Riverside Dance Palais, probably attracted to him because he was the

son of a ranch owner. Now, however, the reality is that she doesn't even like him. 'He

ain't a nice fella', she confides in Lennie. When they are talking together she shows

some kindness to Lennie when she realizes that he understands little of what she is

saying. After she is dead we are shown by Steinbeck a different side of Curley's wife.

In death the 'meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for

attention' have gone from her face. We see she is just a young and pretty girl.

Steinbeck's description of her dead body seems designed to make us see her as a victim of life.

The best laid plans o' mice and


men gang aft agley. (Robert Burns)

Best laid Plans often goes astray.
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