The character of Curley’s Wife is very hard to unravel, as throughout the book, Steinbeck’s representation of women through characters such as George and Candy, is very harsh. This is because the sociological opinion at that time was that they were either, mothers, sisters, or prostitutes, as the audience soon see, George and other ranch workers refer to her as “bitch” “loo loo” and “tramp”. There were also a growing number of prostitutes during the Great Depression period, as they would offload their services to those whom were able to pay and have some decent income during the Depression. Other aspects that may make Curley’s Wife seem like a tart, is Curley’s “Glove Fulla’ Vaseline”. Curley literally keeps a glove full of Vaseline, in order to keep his hand soft, possibly for a sexual act. Curley boasts to Candy that the hand is for his wife, which tells us that she gives him consent to do these acts to her, and also, Curley’s nerve to inform fellow workers about his glove shows that he believes that his own wife is a tart, which is very controversial today, but back then, women were seen as nothing more than possessions, yours to do what you will. George informs Lennie to avoid Curley’s Wife at all costs, and not to talk to her, because of her promiscuous behaviour, he believes t...
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...ars for the fidelity of his wife as he believes there is a chance that Slim could be with her, despite his good nature. This makes the audience believe that Curley knows his wife is capable of anything, and that he would rather have her under his control. However, the poignant side to Curley’s Wife’s victimisation is when she is victimised due to the stereotypical image of women, either mother or prostitute. This adds a dark shadow over her complicated character, because the way she dresses, and the shoes she wears, especially at the ranch of all places, is unnatural. Also, her manipulative ways ironically cost her life, as she was probably toying with Lennie being mentally handicapped. Overall, I believe that the way that Curley’s Wife has cast her impression upon everyone, has eventually made her a victim of society, the ranch workers, and most importantly, herself.
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