Wednesday, March 30, 2011


1. Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
I do not believe in love at first sight. It takes time to get to know and to realize if you love someone or not. Although, I do believe in attraction at first sight. 
2. Do you see a difference between being "in love" and loving someone?
I see a difference between being “in love” and loving someone. Being “in love” is more of an intimate relationship with a significant other rather than just loving a family member or friend. 
3. Can you love or be in love with someone who doesn't love you back?
It is possible to love someone who does not love you back. Love is unconditional, and is based on a person’s emotions. When you love someone it is hard to change your feelings towards them, even if they do not feel the same towards you.
4. Think of married couples whom you know: Do you see different types of love between these couples? On what bases do you think they based their decisions to marry?
The married couples I know obviously display their love for each other in different ways. Some get along very well and are perfect for each other. Other couples have their differences but at the end of the day it is evident that they love each other. I think couples should base their decisions to marry on compatibility, similar interests, beliefs, trust with one another, and honesty.
5. Comment on/React to each of these statements:
        a) Love is blind: When loving someone/being in love it is easy too look past the flaws and accept them for who they are. 
b) Opposites attract: I believe that opposites do attract, but it may not necessarily have a good outcome. Having someone that is just like you means having the same kinds of problems that will be difficult for both people to deal with. When you have an opposite, you can help each other with the different hardships. 
c) Love conquers all: Your love for someone will help you persevere through the obstacles in your life. Knowing that there are people who love you and care about you will guide your outlook on life and how you view things. 
d) The course of true love never did run smooth: Nothing is perfect. The bumps in the road you experience and the hard times spent together will only bring you closer to one another. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Power of One: Midterm Response

In the novel, The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay exhibits through the characterization of Peekay that one person may learn more from either their positive experiences in life or their negative experiences. Throughout Peekay’s life, he learns more from the negative experiences than anything else. For example, Peekay’s first main lesson comes from his year at boarding school with the Judge and Mevrou. He was different than the anyone else at the school because he was English and they were Afrikaner. At the beginning of his time at school Peekay had said, “More serious trouble lay ahead of me for sure. I was a rooinek and a pisskop. I spoke the wrong language. And now I was obviously made differently. But I was still alive, and in my book, where there’s life, there’s hope.” The torture Peekay received helped him to become stronger in the future, and this is what was influencing him to become a better boxer. Compared to the Judge Peekay was just a small boy; he was usually smaller than the people he faced in the boxing ring, and he was determined that small could beat big. 
Another great influence in Peekay’s life was losing the people that meant the most to him. This includes Nanny, Hoppie, Big Hettie, Geel Piet, Doc, and Rasputin. Losing all of these people meant a lot to Peekay because he no longer had a mentor or a friend in  his situations. When Hoppie left, Peekay says, “I was distressed at having left the best friend after Granpa Chook and Nanny that I had ever had, without so much as a good-bye. Hoppie had passed briefly through my life, like a train passing in the night. I had known him a little over twenty-four hours, yet he had managed to change my life.” After meeting Hoppie, Peekay decided that he was going to be the next welterweight champion of the world. He was upset that he no longer had Hoppie in his life, but after that he was determined to reach his goal. After Peekay lost all of these people in his life, he was determined to achieve greater things, to become a better person, to reach the power of one.
Although Peekay had his share of both positive and negative experiences, the negative experiences are what shaped his life more drastically. Without the bad things that happened to him, he would not have tried to make things better in his life. Peekay always benefitted from his negative experiences and this is why they had influenced his life more. He found the power of one in himself and built up all of the his experiences to become the man he had become.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Power of One: Chapter 23-24

1. Chapter 23 pgs. 461-492
2. In this chapter Peekay was accepting the fact that he needed to do things for himself instead of having others give it to him. Morrie and Peekay discuss their plans of going to college, how they are going to deal with the money, and what they would do so that they can go to Oxford together. Peekay got his first rejection letter from the Rhodes Scholarship Committee, and after that he was hesitant and unsure if he would get into Oxford. He was not sure what to do so he decided to visit Doc in the cave and see if he could give him any signs. The sign Peekay got was a black mamba that represented a creature that is not aggressive but will do anything to defend itself and its young; it will take revenge when it wants to protect a loved one. Peekay then decides to take a year off from school and become a grizzly man in Northern Rhodesia. He believes that it will help him determine what he really wants to do, and becoming a grizzly man will help him shape up to become the welterweight champion of the world. 
3.  a. Peekay
b. “It was as though there were a voice inside me explaining me to myself: I had become an expert at camouflage. My precocity allowed me, chameleonlike, to be to each what they required me to be. To Doc, a companion, to Mrs. Boxall an enchantment, to the people, a champion, to Captain Smit a fulfillment, to Miss Bornstein, a bright lint in a dull warp, to Morrie a foil, to Singe ‘n’ Burn a product, and to my peers and idealized schoolboy, a winner and a great guy.”
c. Peekay is:
d. Peekay is the main character in the story. His whole life has been a complicated journey of ups and downs, twists and turns. More bad things had happened compared to the good things, and Peekay learned how to deal with each and every one of his problems throughout the story. He has overcome some of the hardest obstacles such as his year at boarding school with the Judge and the deaths of those important to him. The people in Peekay’s life have helped him to become a respectable and intelligent man, and they changed his life drastically. He constantly struggled with the idea of the “power of one” and whether or not it was better to camouflage or be yourself. He learned to be a powerful individual and affected many of the lives around him.
4. “It was time to slough the mottled and cunningly contrived outer skin and emerge as myself, to face the risk of exposure, to regain the power of one. I had reached the point where to find myself was essential.” Throughout the novel, Peekay gained many mentors who he had learned a lot from. They were his friends who gave him knowledge to become successful. By this time, wanted to be on his own and did not want everything handed to him. This stood out to me because it shows how Peekay was taking initiative to be himself and no longer wanted others to influence him in such drastic ways. In this bildungsroman, Peekay goes through many stages of his life and soon learns to be a man. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Power of One: Chapter 21-22

1. Chapter 21 pg. 415-434
2. In chapter twenty-one, Peekay learns  that the Nationalists party was elected in to power, and this would change the current status quo of the country. During their Easter break, Peekay and Morrie traveled daily to Solly Goldman’s gym. One day Solly told the boys that there was a man, Mr. Nguni, who wanted Peekay to fight with one of his boxers who was “an unregistered pro.” When Peekay met Mr. Nguni he realized that he was the man who led the cheers for Peekay during all of his boxing matches, and the fight was to determine if the Tadpole Angel Peekay still existed. Before the fight with the unregistered professional Gideon Mandoma, Peekay had learned that Gideon was his Nanny’s sonThousands of the People came to watch the fight and cheered and sang loudly when Peekay won the fight because that meant that the Tadpole Angel still existed in Peekay. Gideon and Peekay then became brothers because of Nanny. During the celebration of Peekay’s victory, he got a feeling that made him very uncomfortable; he knew that Doc had died, and Peekay knew exactly where he was.
3.  a. Gideon Mandoma
b. “They say you are a chief but must prove you have the spirit of Onoshobishobi Ingelosi. I know I am a chief and have the spirit of Cetshwayo and before that of Mpande, Dingaan, and even of Shaka the king of all kings.”
c. Gideon is:
d. Gideon was a boxer who Peekay fought in order to find out if he was still the Tadpole Angel. Gideon was known to become a chief, so the People thought it would be a good idea for Gideon and Peekay to fight to see who really had a spirit with them. Eventually, Gideon Mandoma became Peekay’s brother. Before their fight, Peekay found out that Gideon was the son of his nanny. Peekay felt guilty for being the one to take Gideon’s mother away from him when he was a child. The fight with Gideon was the first in which Peekay was scared. Gideon had a greater reason to beat Peekay than Peekay did to win. After the fight they both had great respect for one another and became brothers because they “have taken milk from the same mother’s breasts.” In chapter twenty-two, Gideon and Peekay become good friends and Gideon helps Peekay and Morrie to start a school for Africans. 
4. “The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated.” What made it stand out was the fact that Peekay finally figured out the power of one. He said this because he was not sure what would happen in the fight with Gideon Mandoma. Peekay needed faith in himself to know that he had the ability to win, and he should not be doubtful. Even though Peekay won many fights before this, he could not use the certainty to know he would win the one he was about to fight. Peekay constantly reminds himself of what the power of one is and comes up with different meanings. These help him get through whatever challenges he is about to face, and they usually help Peekay succeed. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Power of One: Chapter 18

1. Chapter 18: pages 379-385
2. In this chapter, Peekay returns home to Barberton at the end of his school term. He continued to fight with the Barberton Blues and continued his lessons with Doc. Peekay is back to his old schedule and it is just as busy as it used to be. Going from the prison, to Doc’s house, to Miss Bornstein’s house, Peekay was full of new lessons and ideas from his mentors. He compares what he learns at school to what Doc, Miss Bornstein, and Mrs. Boxall teach him at home. In the end, Peekay realizes that he misses Morrie and his friends at school and being able to just be a kid.
3)  a. Doc
b. “‘I cannot teach you what I cannot feel. Peekay, you must understand this. It is not possible for a man to touch the heart of the Negro man’s music when he cannot feel it through his fingers.’ Doc had just explained to me why I would never amount to much musically. What Geel Piet knew I had as a boxer, Doc knew I lacked as a musician.”
c. Doc is:
d. Doc’s role in the novel is to be a friend, teacher, and mentor to Peekay. He is one of the only mentors of Peekay that has been around for a long time. Ever since he was young, Peekay loved Doc and looked up to him. Doc teaches Peekay how to play the piano and constantly gives him intellectual insight. Just like Hoppie, Doc reminds Peekay when to play his music with his head and when to play with his heart, “‘But to play black, the music must come from your soul, not out from your head, Peekay.” Peekay spends a lot of time with Doc, and their relationship is like that of a father and son. 
4. “I was beginning to understand how intellect separates men.” This line stood out to me because it is another one of Peekay’s realizations about life. He had said this when he noticed how different people act based on how they were raised and how they live their life. Around certain people, Peekay saw that he talked about different things with all of the different groups of people he was associated with. When he was with Miss Bornstein and his other teachers, Peekay found himself always speaking intellectually; with his friends, Peekay did not have to worry or about how correctly he spoke. This is related to how Morrie said, “Good conversational debate is an end in itself, and talking for the love of conversation is what makes us human.”

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Power of One: Chapter 17

1. The Power of One Chapter 17 pgs. 349-378

2. In this chapter, the reader can find that Peekay and Morrie’s friendship is growing each day. Peekay and Morrie have created a bank where they work out their bets with the other boys at the school and sometimes boys from different schools. The success of Peekay’s boxing had spread and a larger number of people were showing up to his fights each time. The People made up a fraction of the crowd and their chanting and singing helped Peekay to win his fights. When Peekay is fourteen, he is going through puberty and all he can think about is “doing it.” His weekly letters from Miss Bornstein became a disturbance in history class because he and Morrie were constantly correcting and opposing whatever “Mango” Cobett had said. Being in the third form, the boys were eligible to become one of the six of Sinjun’s People, and they both had a spot as one of the people. Unknowingly, Peekay and Morrie had helped each other to gain their spots as Sinjun’s People. 

3)  a. Morrie Levy
b. “To have done the things you’ve done, led the life you’ve led? Believe me, being rich, in a Jewish household anyway, isn’t a lot of fun. Everything is overdone. Too much love, too much money, too much food, too much care, too much reminding you that you’re different, that you’re Jewish.”
c. Morrie is:
d. Morrie was the first person Peekay met when he started going to the Prince of Wales School. He is a Jewish boy who is interested in gambling and making money. In the chapter sixteen Morrie said to Peekay, “You see, you’re different. I know that now. And I’m certainly different, I always have been, but being a Jew at a school like this makes me even more so. I reckon we’ll need each other.” Ever since then Morrie and Peekay were best friends and so far they have helped one another in many ways. For example, when Peekay had messed up Cooper’s cream bun Morrie helped by first offering to pay for another one; instead, he helped Peekay arrange the cream and escape being in trouble. In chapter seventeen it is easier to see that Peekay and Morrie have become partners in crime because of the many things they experience together such as boxing, The Bank, “According to Miss Bornstein,” and Sinjun’s People.

4. The quote I found meaningful was, “The power of one was based on the courage to remain separate, to think through to the truth, and not to be beguiled by convention or the plausible arguments of those who expect to maintain power.” What made it stand out was that Peekay had another explanation of the power of one. He is saying that the power of one is being able to be yourself and independent instead of succumbing to someone who is trying to be superior than you. This is just like the saying of how it is better to be a leader and not a follower. The quote is important to the chapter because Peekay is growing up and learning what it is like to be more on his own and independent. He had realized that he is now being given the choice to do what he wants and to dream whatever he feels like dreaming about. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Athlete of God; The Power of One: Ch 12-15

The essay I listened to was “An Athlete of God” by Martha Graham. She tells the listener about how dance may seem easy, but there are a lot of things that dancers must go through to actually look the way they do. Martha Graham opens her essay with the line, “I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.” She is saying that a person may not get anywhere or will not succeed without practicing. She symbolizes living with performing and dancing; the comparison is joined by one thing, the human body. Dance speaks through a dancers body while life occurs also in the body. Martha Graham states that dancers must train for many years for their bodies to be accustomed to the movement. “The body is shaped, disciplined, honored, and in time, trusted. The movement becomes clean, precise, eloquent, truthful.” After a dancer has trained and has become mature enough, that is when their true personality is shown in their dancing. “It is at this point that sweep of life catches up the mere personality of the performer, and while the individual-the undivided one-becomes greater, the personal life becomes less personal.” She then says that dancers can notice small details in the things they do and that they are then aware of the beauty of the art. Although dance is takes a lot of hard work and dedication, in the end it is a wonderful sight to see. This is why Martha Graham calls dancers, “athletes of God.”
“An Athlete of God” relates to The Power of One because Martha Graham’s love for dance is just like Peekay’s passion for boxing. After Peekay had won the boxing final he said, “It was the power of one stirring in me, nothing Lieutenant Smit said could dampen my spirits. I jumped down from the ring feeling ten feet tall.” This explains the feeling one may get after they achieved something great, whether it be a boxing match, a dance performance, or even a goal someone has set for their self. It is also related to how Doc had accomplished playing the “Concerto of the Great Southland” and Chopin’s Nocturne Number Five. Martha Graham, Peekay, and Doc all had made great accomplishments with a lot of practice. Martha Graham said, “Practice means to perform over and over again, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” Peekay had trained in the field of boxing for two years before his first fight. When Doc knew that he had to perform  for the brigadier, he began practicing Chopin’s nocturne; when the time came to perform the piece, Doc played the nocturne perfectly. Martha Graham’s idea that the love of dance will come to the dancer after hard work is directly related to the piece of advice that Hoppie gave Peekay. Peekay will never forget the words given to him, “First with the head and then with the heart.”
Being a dancer, I can genuinely relate to all of the points Martha Graham makes in her essay. In the essay she says, “It takes about ten years to make a mature dancer.” I have just completed my eleventh year of dancing, and I still believe that I have not learned everything I need to know about dance. As a dancer, it takes a lot of time and dedication in life to do well when I perform. It is not easy to always be in a studio, dancing the night away while my friends are at the mall or hanging out somewhere else. Along with the commitment, a dancer can never be sure if they will stay healthy throughout their career. Like Martha Graham says, “But the path to the paradise of that achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration. There are daily small deaths.” I have experienced all of these episodes. Lately, to me, dance has been hard to deal with. For the past two weeks I constantly found myself angry or frustrated during rehearsals. This is because I have a very important ballet competition coming up this weekend on Saturday, February 26, 2011. My friends and I have been working for months to technically perfect our dances. This past week we ran our dances in front of the director at our school, and the only thing she tells us is that we have done really well in the technique of the dances but now we need to show our personality. It is difficult to bring out a part of yourself that you have never expressed before. We have run out of time to clean things up in our dances, and now it is time to show our love for dance. “And there is grace. I mean the grace resulting from in life, in love, in people, in the act of dancing. All this is necessary to any performance in life which is magnetic, powerful, rich in meaning.” I have worked hard and long in dance and now it is time for me to express that hard work and the love of the art.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Power of One: Chapters 7-9

With the characterization of Peekay, Bryce Courtenay presents in the novel The Power of One that it is helpful to have friends and elders to guide someone in their life. The mentors in Peekay’s life have all helped him in different aspects of life. All of these people have given him simple words of advice on how he can be successful in the future. His first main mentor is Hoppie Groenewald who told him, “First with the head and then with the heart, that’s how a man stays ahead from the start.” This means that a person must have the knowledge of how they will encounter a problem and then have a passion to continue and persevere. Peekay says, “He had given me the power of one-one idea, one , one mind, one plan, one determination. Hoppie had sensed my need to grow, my need to be assured that the world around me had not been specially arranged to bring about my undoing. He gave me a defense system, and with it he gave me hope.” This demonstrates the fact that Hoppie had only been with Peekay for a short time, but he taught him a lot about the power of one person.
Another mentor that Peekay learned from was Big Hettie. She had accompanied Peekay on his journey to his grandpa’s house. When he asked her about where hate in a person comes from, she told him that many people have pride and courage. Peekay did not know what pride was, so he asked Big Hettie and she said, “Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” She reminded him of these words the moment she was dying. Big Hettie had also said to Peekay, “You will be a great fighter, I know it.” Peekay tries to remember the thoughtful words his mentors give him, so eventually he will remember Big Hettie’s advice if he decides to become a fighter. The last mentor is Professor Karl von Vollensteen, but to Peekay he is known as Doc. Doc is a professor that asked for Peekay to join him on searches, and in exchange, Peekay will receive piano lessons. Doc is one of his mentors because he teaches Peekay how to play the piano and gives him knowledge about nature and humans. Doc tells Peekay, “Your brain, Peekay, has two functions; it is a place for original thought, but also it is a reference library. Use it to tell you where to look, and you will have for yourself all the brains that have ever been.” This is telling Peekay that all of the knowledge he will need in life is not in other people but in himself. 
The people that have made the most influence on Peekay’s life are not the ones who stay in his life for an eternity, but they are the people that Peekay is with for a short time. They learn his personality quickly and have the perfect advice to give him that he will always remember. Peekay remembers these people for what they said to him and the impact they had on his life. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Power of One: Chapters 4-6

In the novel The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay displays through the characterization of Peekay and Hoppie Groenewald that with the help of friends and “the power of one,” anyone can defeat who or whatever they choose. Peekay says he learned that the power of one is, “In each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed.” On his way to Barberton where his grandfather lives, Peekay meets a man named Hoppie Groenewald. Hoppie is a boxer and a guard on the train that Peekay is taking, and he becomes a mentor and one of his closest allies. Throughout the train ride, Hoppie looks after Peekay and takes good care of him. He makes sure Peekay gets good food to eat and does not make him pay for the food he eats. “‘You finish it. It will spoil my appetite for my mixed grill. You’re still going to have a mixed grill with me, aren’t you? I mean, I’m paying and all that.’” Hoppie also helps to be a good friend to Peekay. When he asked about how it would be for him to fight with the Judge, Hoppie says, “‘Who you want to fight, hey? What big kid gave you a bad time? Just you tell me, Peekay, and he’ll have to reckon with Hoppie Groenewald. I’m telling you, man, nobody hurts a friend of mine.’” Peekay learned a lot from Hoppie at the boxing match against Jackhammer Smit. When they first meet Jackhammer, he never stops taking badly to Hoppie and how their sizes do not compare. After Hoppie had defeated Jackhammer Smit, Peekay said, “It seemed certain now that small could beat big, all it took was brains and skill and heart and a play. A perfect plan.” He also says, “It was the greatest moment of my life. I had hope. I had witnessed small triumph over big. I was not powerless.” These relate to the problems Peekay had with the Judge and the jury at his boarding school. There sizes were much different which meant that they could easily beat Peekay. He learned from Hoppie Groenewald that size does not matter, but what matters is that a person should always be thinking and that everyone can overcome something if they have “the power of one” inside of them. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Power of One: Chapters 1-3

In the novel “The Power of One,” Bryce Courtenay displays through the characterization of Pisskop that it is not right to punish others for the actions of other people. Pisskop is the main character in the story; he is hated by the Judge and jury because he is English and they are Dutch. In South Africa the English were known as Rooineks, and the Dutch were called Boers or Afrikaners. The hatred of Pisskop comes from when the Dutch and English fought the Anglo-Boer War.”I spoke the language that had pronounced the sentences that had killed their grandfathers and sent their grandmothers to the world’s first concentration camps, where they had died like flies from dysentery, malaria, and blackwater fever.” Pisskop is the only English boy in his school full of Dutch boys, so the Boers decided that he would be an easy target. “The Boer War had created great malevolent feelings against the English, who were called rooineks. It was a hate that had entered the Afrikaner bloodstream and pocked the hearts and minds of the next generation. To the boys at school, I was the first live example of the congenital hate they carried for my kind.” 
To deal with the cruelty of the Judge and jury, Pisskop tries to camouflage. Throughout the first three chapters he is constantly saying how camouflaging would get him through until the end of the term. He said, “Mediocrity is the best camouflage known to man,” and “it became increasingly hard for the other kids to think of me as being different when no visible or audible differences separated us. Except, of course, for my hatless snake; but even this, like a kid with a birthmark or a little finger missing, started to go unnoticed. I was becoming the perfect stick insect.” At times, things go wrong and Pisskop’s camouflage disappears for a while. Examples of this are when he tells the doctor that his shoulder hurt from hitting the wall and when he recited times tables that they had not learned in class yet. Another way to deal with the cruelty was to tell his chicken, Granpa Chook, about everything that had happened, and Granpa Chook was there for Pisskop whenever he needed a friend. “I was constantly fearful for Granpa Chook, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Like me, he was a prisoner of war. Together we just had to hope for the best and try to muddle through.” 
The lesson that Bryce Courtenay wants readers to learn about human cruelty and prejudice is that something could have happened generations before a person was born and that person treats others badly for what the actions of their ancestors. People may not be the direct cause of a problem, but just because they are who they are does not mean they are the same as those who have done wrong. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bedroom Opening

The air is cold. With the loss of feeling, life, and love, there is no warmth in the air. There is no one. Lavender walls and green and tan cabinets give the room an earthy feeling. The rectangular, flower-designed bed sits in the middle of the south wall and takes up most of the area of the confined space. This bed contains four pillows and two blankets, which are the only source of warmth throughout the room. At the foot of the bed is a small cabinet for irrelevant objects, such as blankets and pillows for guests.  Parallel to the foot of the bed is a closet that is hidden by bleached white sliding doors. Adjacent to the bed is a night stand that holds many personal possessions. Atop the night stand is a purple-tinted, translucent lamp, an alarm clock, and a box of cereal. On the other side of the bed are two dressers, one is thin and tall while the other is short and twice as wide as the other. Pictures of only the closest family members are framed and placed on the tall dresser.  The wider dresser holds a mirror at the top. The mirror is bordered by a wood frame carved with a constant pattern. Along the border of the mirror are pictures depicting memories with good friends and loving family.  An abandoned television sits on the corner of the dresser, and next to it is a desk made perfectly for a computer. It even has a compartment that can pull out for the keyboard, but there is no computer. In the gap of the desk is a black, rolling chair just waiting to be sat on. The whole set of furniture in the room is an olive green shade with borders and knobs that are some kind of a light brown color; they resemble a caramel-covered green apple. Above the computer desk is a lonely window. This window is the only source of light for the lone room, and can only be fed in the early hours of the morning. The only thing on the west wall is a door, located towards the corner of the room, leading to a bathroom. The following necessary items are located in the bathroom: a sink, two mirrors, a toilet, and a shower. There is not much that goes on in this bedroom, and it barely has any visitors during the day. It is now half passed midnight and the room receives its first visitor. They lay in bed, think about the day’s events, pray to and thank God for the past day and many more to come, then quietly fall asleep. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Of Mice and Men-Chapter 5: Does Curley's wife get what she deserves?

In the novel Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck demonstrates through the characterization of Curley’s wife that you should not judge someone before you get to know them, and the struggles they have been through. Throughout the book, most of the guys on the ranch always refer to Curley’s wife as “jail bait” because she is always flirting with everyone even though she is married to Curley, who barely gets her attention. For example, on page 51, Whit told George about the things she does, “‘Well, stick around an’ keep your eyes open. You’ll see plenty. She ain’t concealin’ nothing. I never seen nobody like her. She got the eye goin’ all the time on everybody. I bet she even gives the stable buck they eye. I don’t know what the hell she wants.’” The guys on the ranch already look down on her because she is a woman of their society. They barely know her and the hardships she has gone through. She as treated as if she is committing the worst sin in the world. She is just trying to deal with the circumstances she is in. On page 88, John Steinbeck expresses how Curley’s wife really feels about living on the ranch. She attempts to talk to Lennie but Lennie is trying to avoid her because of what George told him, “‘Well, George says you’ll get us in a mess.’ ‘Aw, nuts!’ she said. ‘what kinda harm am I doin’ to you? Seems like they ain’t non of them cares how I gotta live. I tell you I ain’t used to livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.’” She did not deserve what had happened to her. Although Curley’s wife was not always “faithful” to Curley, she was not treated like a human being, so she just wanted to feel like someone cared about her. Everyone on the ranch acts like the only thing Curley’s wife should do is stay at home and wait until Curley gets home. She does not even want to be there. Again on page 88, she explains to Lennie her story of how she ended up there, even if though he was not really listening and paying attention to her, “‘ ‘Nother time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers. Went out to the Riverside Dance Palace with him. He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural. Soon’s he got back to Hollywood he was gonna write to me about it.’ She looked closely at Lennie to see whether she was impressing him ‘I never got that letter,’ she said. ‘I always thought my ol’ lady stole it. Well, I wasn’t gonna stay no place where I couldn’t get nowhere or make something of myself, an’ where they stole your letters. I ast her if she stole it, too, an’ she says no. So I married Curley. Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace that same night,’” Marrying Curley was something his wife had done out of anger and rebellion. In the barn, she was trying to be friends with Lennie by letting him feel her hair because she now knows that he likes to pet soft things. She did not deserve to be killed by Lennie when he got scared because she was yelling. This exemplifies how it is not good to judge people before you get to know them.