Of Mice and Men Essay: Analysis of Curley’s Wife

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“I tell you I ain’t used to livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.” (Steinbeck 88). Curley’s wife is heartbroken and regretful as a result of her failing miserably in achieving her American dream due to several factors such as her marriage to Curley. In the novel titled Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, one of the loneliest characters on the ranch, Curley’s wife is portrayed as attractive and charming but is destructive and desperately seeks attention due to men avoiding her on the farm in fear of losing their job and the lack of attention her aggressive husband, Curley, gives her. Curley’s wife dreams about becoming an actress ever since a man from the movie industry said she is “natural” and will write to her as soon as he arrives in Hollywood, however, Curley’s wife never receives a letter and always thought her mother stole it out of disapproval for an acting career at a young age. Although numerous people may claim Crooks is portrayed as the most marginalized character, Curley’s wife exceeds every other marginalized character for the sake of many factors acting as a barrier to prevent her from achieving her American dream.

Due to the lack of independence Curley’s wife receives after partaking in marriage, she immediately exceeds all of the marginalized characters due to the struggle she experiences in trying to gain her independence back from her domineering husband. After not receiving a letter from the man involved in the movie industry, Curley’s wife married Curley aspiring for a better life in which she did not receive, but instead, she acquires the unexpected role of a housewife. For example, when Curley observes that his wife is not in the house, he enters the bunkhouse and Carlson aggressively questions Curley by stating, “Why’n’t you tell her to stay the hell home where she belongs?” (Steinbeck 62). Many of the men on the ranch view women as a possession and property which leads them to advise Curley to work on containing his wife and to demand her to stay home “where she belongs.” Though numerous may argue that there is a power-inbalance between Crooks and Curley’s Wife for the sake of Crook’s racial background, Curley’s wife is indeed the most marginalized character due to her decision of marrying her husband and becoming his property instead of her own character. For instance, in Curley’s Wife’s conversation with Candy, she hints to him about her American Dream revealing, “Whatta ya think I am a kid? I tell ya I could of went with shows” (Steineck 78). Due to the lack of independence Curley gives his wife and gender roles in the 1930s, Curley’s wife is aware that most of the men on the ranch view her as property and a possession especially, her husband Curley. Altogether, Steinbeck throughout Of Mice and Men illustrates many more significant examples of Curley’s wife being the most marginalized character to the farm.

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Ultimately, Curley’s wife’s unexpected role as a housewive and her domineering husband restrains her from achieving her American Dream. Although Curley’s wife possesses the opportunity to achieve her American Dream, she fails since she does not fulfill the stereotype of a typical 1930s women and for the sake of her overbearing husband. Furthermore, this allows her to acquire the position of the most marginalized character throughout the novel. Therefore, men should agree that women should not be viewed as property or possession, but rather as an individual equivalent to them.


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