Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chapter 5- Of Mice and Men

In Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck illustrates through the characterization of Curley’s wife that you should never judge or assume unless you know the whole story. In this story, Curley’s wife is depicted as a mean tramp who looks anywhere and everywhere for companionship. She is constantly badgered and put down by the men on the ranch: “Jesus, what a tramp. Don’t you even take a look at that bitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does.” No one cares about her or what she has to say, not even Curley. But, just the other men on the ranch, she is extremely lonely and dreams of a better life. As shown to us in Chapter 5, we see that she is more than a nameless, mean tramp; she is hopeful and sensitive and acts humanly and genuine. In the barn when Curley’s wife is talking to Lennie, we see a side of her character who is not deserving a harsh punishment such as death and someone who is just seeking human connection. “I tell you I ain’t used to livin’ like this. I coulda made somethin’ of myself.” This passage shows that she, in a way, regrets marrying Curley because she could have made something better with herself. It says on page 87 that she could have been an actress or famous, wearing nice things and staying in big hotels. She also tells Lennie that she doesn’t like Curley and that he is not a good man: “Well, I ain’t told this to nobody before. Maybe I ought’n to. I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” This also reveals that Curley’s wife trusted Lennie enough to tell him something that she had never told anyone before. Lennie goes on telling her of his dreams of owning rabbits and why he likes them so much. He says that he likes how soft they are and Curley’s wife agrees to let him touch her hair. Lennie then gets excited and scares her. As she began to struggle Lennie panicked and grasped her mouth tightly. She began to fight back and shake, but Lennie held her even tighter. Lennie held on to tight and Curley’s wife ended up breaking her neck and dying. Lennie goes and hides in the bush because that is what George told him to do when he was in trouble. Some time passes and as everyone began to learn what Lennie had done, George and Lennie flee the farm as Curley and the gang try to chase him down and kill him. Overall, you should never be so quick to judge people because you never know who they really are and what they are really feeling, just as Steinbeck depicted Curley’s wife as in Of Mice and Men