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Of Mice And Men Essay Plan

An essay plan for Curley's Wife
by

Jade Kinton

on 18 March 2013

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Transcript of Of Mice And Men Essay Plan

Of Mice And Men
Essay Plan- Curley's Wife
By Jade Kinton A common theme within Of Mice And Men is loneliness, and Curley's Wife is often demonstrated to be a lonely character.

For example, whilst in the barn with Crooks, Lennie and Candy, she says, 'Think I don't like to talk to somebody ever' once in a while? Think I like to stick in that house alla time?'. This shows that, just like many of the workers on the ranch, Curley's Wife doesn't have much company or talk to many people, especially when she's in the house on her own. Also, the word 'stick' emphasises her loneliness because it suggests she's uncomfortable and has been put there individually. Furthermore, Steinbeck suggests that Curley's Wife's loneliness isn't being uplifted by her husband, Curley, either. They never share a conversation in the novel, and she tells Lennie, 'I'm glad you bust up Curley a little bit... Sometimes I'd like to bust him myself'. Married couples are usually there to provide care and company for eachother, so the fact that Curley's Wife is pleased someone assaulted her husband conveys the loneliness and isolation she feels in their marriage. However, Of Mice And Men is set in 1930s America, when women were expected to obey their husbands by staying at home doing the domestic labour, so their unaffectionate relationship may have been more common then. Lonely Throughout Of Mice And Men, George and Lennie recite their dream to get a little house and not have to move about the ranches anymore, but Curley's Wife is an ambitious character too.

This is shown when she tells Lennie about leaving her mothers' after not receiving the letter that was supposedly sent by a Hollywood big shot, 'I wasn't gonna stay no place where I couldn't get nowhere or make something of myself'. Ambitious This tells us that she has ambition because she wasn't going to stay where there weren't any opportunities and where she was being held back, which could explain her craving for attention on the ranch because being stuck in the house wasn't enough for her. As well as this, Steinbeck uses the word 'myself', which suggests that she has strong self-interest and doesn't really care about how leaving affected her mother, which are quite ambitious qualities/actions. However, the fact that Curley's Wife chose to marry Curley, may be interpreted by some as a sign of a lack of ambition because she decided to give up on her hopes and dreams of becoming an actress and settle down instead. Within Of Mice And Men, Curley's Wife is sometimes presented as a mean character.

This is especially shown in section 4 of the novel in a tense conversation between Curley's Wife, Candy, Crooks and Lennie, as she snaps to Crooks, 'Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny'. Mean In Of Mice And Men, Curley's Wife is portrayed as a tarty character.

When she is first introduced in the novel, this is demonstrated as Steinbeck writes, 'She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up' and describes her as wearing a dress with 'red ostrich feathers'. A tart Despite showing flirtatious and nasty characteristics, Curley's Wife is actually a misunderstood character too in Of Mice And Men.

For example, after she is killed accidentally by Lennie, Steinbeck writes, 'The meanness and the plannings and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face. She was very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young'. Misunderstood Here, Curley's Wife comments on how easy it would be to get Crooks hanged just because he's black, which demonstrates cruelty and meanness because Crooks knows it's true so she's deliberately crushed his self-esteem. Also, it suggests that she knows the effect her body can have and that she can use it to get what she wants by, for example, claiming Crooks raped her like she threatens in this chapter. The fact that Curley's Wife is wearing a lot of make up and has a showy appearance shows the reader that she wants the men on the ranch to notice her, and is therefore quite flirtatious. Furthermore, ostrich feathers suggest that she is glamourous and provocative, and it is interesting that they're red because this colour commonly symbolises danger. The positive adjectives Steinbeck uses here, like 'pretty' and 'sweet', show the reader how Curley's Wife truly was and that the other characters misunderstood her because she was never spoken of or to this kindly by any of them. Furthermore, she uses the offensive and degrading term 'nigger'. Although the other ranch workers would have used this word too, Crooks may have felt even more disrespected with it coming from her because (even though he was the lowest in society) in the 1930s women were meant to be inferior to men and should behave politely. But, on the other hand, others may interpret Curley's Wife's harsh words as her response to being judged and treated so badly by characters like Candy and George earlier in the novel. She may have been portrayed as a villain when actually she is a victim of verbal abuse and wanted to defend herself before she was hurt. She, however, is also seen to be a tart by the workers on the ranch. This is demonstrated when George tells Lennie, 'Don't you even take a look at that bitch... I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her'. The fact that George warns Lennie off Curley's Wife suggests that he thinks she is too provocative for Lennie's naive, child-like mind. The term 'jail bait' reinforces this further because it means her flirtatious ways could put a man is prison. On the other hand, some may interpret the way she dresses as a mask, protecting her from any snide comments the ranch workers may have. Also, this is another animal reference within the novel. Lennie is sometimes described as a 'bear' to emphasise his physical strength, so the word 'ostrich' could be used to show that Curley's Wife is a victim. As well as this, John Steinbeck wrote a letter to Claire Luce, who was the first actress to play Curley's Wife on stage, describing how he pictured his character as a more naive, innocent young woman, rather than a tart. This shows that she is misunderstood because she is often interpreted by both readers and other characters differently to how the author himself intended; we only really she this softer side to her after her death. Furthermore, in the previous quote, Steinbeck lists all her negative qualities as having 'gone from her face', which suggests that all along they were a mask hiding her true self, prompting people to misunderstand her. But, Steinbeck also describes her need for attention as an 'ache', conveying a painful yet natural feeling, which suggests that this mask was involuntary and she couldn't control it anyway.
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