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.

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