Monday, January 24, 2011

Chapter 5 Prompt

In the novel, of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck portrays through the characterization of Curley’s wife that you should not judge someone, their decision, or their outcome until you really get to know them.  Curley’s wife’s role in this story begins right from the start as a promiscuous ‘jail bait,’ who begins flirting with George and Lennie as they tell her Curley is not present.  After she asks playfully for her husband, she slips down the road, leaving the men to analyze her verbally.  “George looked around at Lennie.  ‘Jesus, what a tramp,’ he said.  ‘So that’s what Curley picks for a wife.’  ‘She’s purdy,’ said Lennie defensively.  ‘Yeah, and she’s sure hidin’ it.  Curley got his work ahead of him.  Bet she’d clear out for twenty bucks,’ says George.  Lennie still stared at the doorway where she had been.  ‘Gosh she was purdy,’ he smiled admiringly.  George looked quickly down at him and then he took him by an ear and shook him.  ‘Listen to me, you crazy bastard,’ he said fiercely.  ‘Don’t you even take a look at that bitch.  I don’t care what she says and what she does.  I seen em poison before, but I never seen no piece of jail bait worse than her.  You leave her be.’”  To most average readers or characters, she would simply seem like a manipulative tart, which should not be trusted.  Unfortunately, this is not the whole truth.  In her final, tragic conversation, she spills her secrets to a mentally challenged, but exceedingly strong Lennie Smalls.  To begin the scene, Steinbeck sets her to witness Lennie stroking his murdered dog, with nail biting foreshadowing.  She tells him “I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad.” And “Well, I ain’t told this to nobody before. Maybe I ought’n to. I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.”  After Lennie explains that he loves animals so much because of their soft, easily pet fur, Curley’s mysteriously nameless wife let’s him pet her hair, and after so many killed pets from his manhandling nature, he accidentally strangles her. “And shook her; and her body flapped like a fish. And then she was still, for Lennie had broken her neck.”  She lies there, still, but with a newfound innocence, unmentioned in her lifetime.  This young lady did not deserve to die, for she simply made mistakes, trying to flirt with farm workers to escape Curley’s imprisoning ways, and it is unfortunate that her time had to end with dreams unfulfilled.

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