How does Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men portray the position of women Essay

How does Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men portray the position of women Essay

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How does Steinbeck in Of Mice and Men portray the position of women
in 1930's America?

'Of Mice & Men' by John Steinbeck is set during the depression and
highlights the extreme economical and social problems through each
character. We see them all aspire to live the 'American Dream', while
in pursuit for this life disregard one another and do not acknowledge
the importance of friendship, in the world of isolation. Loneliness
and dreams are recurring themes through out the novel. Curley' s wife
is a key figure with in the novel. On a social level she embodies the
position of women during the depression and the way in which their
emotions had been ignored.

George and Lennie are warned of her by candy when they first reach the
ranch. He describes her as ' tart' because she's only been ' Married
two weeks and got the eye?', we already have am instant dislike about
her and we still haven't met her.

Steinbeck has purposely not given Curley's wife a name, which
highlights the concept of women's social position during the
depression and how they seemed to be viewed as nothing more than a
mans possession. In this case she is nothing more than Curley's

We first meet Curley's wife in the barn house; her presence is almost
striking. Her appearance seems to embody the image we had constructed
from candy's description; provocative and very suggesting.

"She had full, rouged lips and wide spaced eyes, heavily made-up. Her
fingernails were red"

The use of the colour red puts emphasis on the idea of her being a
seductress and like a scarlet woman. However it also represents
danger; and we are already aware of Lennie's attraction to red. The
description of her movements is a projection of her sensuo...

... middle of paper ...

...r she dreams more of being
recognised by the masses, she craves the attention that she lacks in
the farm. She seemed to view Curley's proposal as a chance for an
escape to a better life. We begin to feel sympathy for her, she is
trapped in a marriage were she doesn't like her husband, and can't
make friends due to his tight rein.

Although her fate is tragic, the way in which Steinbeck describes her
in the moments after her death is as though she is the opposite person
we met in the beginning of the novel. This is significant description
in the play; it helps define what Curley's wife and many other woman
of that time were, beneath the clothes and make-up. Beneath the
actress and the role she played into, was nothing more than a young
girl; "The ache and attention were gone form her face. She was very
pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young".

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