a) What do you learn about Curley’s wife from the details in the passage?
Curley’s wife is the only woman in the ranch. The passage starts off with her entering the bunkhouse as “the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off”. This could be seen as a reference to good and evil and light and dark, foreshadowing that Curley’s wife will end the American dream that is treasured by George, Lennie and Candy.
The author uses different adjectives to describe to the reader the appearance and personality of Curley’s wife. The fact that Steinbeck refers to her as “A girl” may show her immature desire for attention, and the fact that she wore mainly red symbolizes blood and danger which also hints to the reader that she is a mesmerizing but dangerous woman.
Curley’s wife was “heavily made up” which suited the description that Candy gave to George – a tart. However, this may symbolize that she is wearing a mask and is not showing her true persona, and we find that later on in the novel she truly reveals herself to Lennie. This enforces the idea that unlike Lennie, she is a complex character in the novel.
Steinbeck mentioned that Curley’s wife’s voice had a “nasal, brittle quality” which is a clear sign of her flirtatious behaviour. Although her intentions were flirty, the fact that it was described as ‘nasal’ by the author made it obvious that it was unpleasant to the ears. The reaction from George made it clear to the reader that she was an attractive woman, however he was being apprehensive as he “looked away from her and then back”. This contrasts with Lennies reaction as his “eyes moved down over her body” blatantly checking her out. As he did this Curley’s wife “bridled a little”, this showed that although she may have been giving sexually provocative gestures such as throwing her body forward, she did not expect that type of reaction.
“She looked at her fingernails”. In this passage she is constantly posing, and later on we find out...