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    How does Steinbeck present attitudes towards women in the society in which the novel was set?

    In “OF MICE AND MEN” John Steinbeck explores loneliness and self-importance in characters of women. It is full of sexism and unfair treatment towards them. In the novel we are only introduced with “Curley’s Wife” and the rest of the characters are men who you would expect to surround her but don’t even come close to her. She wants attention from other men but fails each time as men think differently of her.

    Curley’s wife is first introduced in the novel wearing “cotton house dress and red mules” with “red ostrich feathers”. The word “red” signifies death or blood so the repetition of this word has helped Steinbeck convey the message of an evil lady. This could be the thinking of the society that they may find different ways of showing a lady is not friendly but wicked.

    Curley’s wife is not even worthy of a name would shock the audience. She is the only one in the novel to not have a name but instead she is known with her husband’s name “Curley”. One can here say Women in the 1930’s were not given any importance from others around; this could also mean she did not even exist for some people as her name would have never been heard; so she is dead for everyone. Furthermore, when George shouts ”Listen to me, you crazy *******” implies how serious this matter of staying away is and how she could be a “trap” them. Steinbeck connotes the belief men had for women in that time. One would not expect to hear “Crazy *******” from two close like friends, these two strong, sharp words could suggest the amount of negativity men had for women.

    At the end of the novel we are left with a sign of humour when Curley’s Wife confesses “He says he was gonna put me in the movies”, at this point us audience know the man was only interested in one think. The fact that she has repeated this twice in the novel suggests woman were selfish at that time and could easily be fooled/controlled by men. Just like George and Lennie, Curley’s wife also has ambitions and dreams that we know will never come true “Could be in the movies and had nice clothes”.

    Every time Curley’s wife appears we normally hear “we don’t want no trouble here” or “I aint gonna talk to you or nothing” suggests no one wants her and everyone wants to stay away from her. This could again imply women in the society were known to bring trouble whereas them they just wanted to kill time. Curley and his wife always “pick” on each other so, in the society it meant only husband and wife were allowed to spend all the time they have together. Curley’s “glove full of Vaseline” for his wife suggests he is addicted to her and cannot keep her out of his sight for even a second. He is in a way using her for seduction and is physically attracted to her not emotionally.

    After considering all the detriments of Curley’s wife, it is clear she is unwanted in the society as she brings trouble and attraction with her. She is no less than a prostitute in a way as she goes around seducing men on the ranch, and moving “closer” to them even though they are not interested. She is not even respected by the society, which is why she does not even deserve her own name, but instead uses her husbands.

    I won't be able to grade this for you since Im not technically a teacher or someone in the exam board. But I can tell you that you should defintely add a lot more to your essay and expand on your vocabulary a bit. Im just going to write about a few points you can add in as an example, these aren't full sentences but just some help i guess. I hope this may come into use.

    Red also symbols is danger, love etc. Don't just focus on the negative aspects of the red colour. Also thing about when Curleys wife first enters the novel, (i can't remember the exact quote) but it somewhere along the lines of her covering the light in the doorway- which further reinforces the fact that she is somewhat danger in the novel, this also foreshadows her death later in the … etc

    "Curley’s wife is not even worthy of a name would shock the audience." I don't think this really makes sense as a sentence, i understand it as an idea though. Perhaps you can also discuss about the hierarchy of the social system and how the novels paints a perfect portrait of the idea of patriarchy, how- instead of having a name she is "curley's wife", almost as if though she is an object of possession rather than a human which really downgrades her as a human being, but again this idea can be argued that during the 1930's…. etc

    Your overall essay is pretty neat, in my school that will probably be a C grade if i were to really judge. I think if you do add more into the essay and expand more on what you are saying you can definitely get a higher grade. I went through my english course in school getting C/D's but I ended up with an A*
    Also another way to help is actually searching up essays online and start to read them and pick out sentences that are well structured and learn to expand on them.

    You seem to put Curley's Wife on a very bias view, portraying mostly of the negative ideas.

    You could mention that its almost ironic how almost every character in this novel dies in their dream whilst trying to accomplish the "american dream", how it is an endless cycle of no hope. Curley's Wife dies when she talks about her dream of becoming a movie star, Lennie dies when he talks about the rabbits, Even the dog itself can be a symbol of dream and hopes for Candy (is that the old mans name? i kinda forgot)

    Anyways in your last paragraph, yes she does bring all those negative opinions but expand on your paragraph by talking about the audience/ readers. Even though Curley's wife seems to ... blah blah blah… in the end of her death readers may sympathise with her because she was merely looking for attention due to her loneliness (another theme of the novel)
    have a look at this site for more ideas:

    You as the writer seem to understand how women are downgraded in society back then, but your overall essay depicts women in a very negative way. Its missing a bit of positivity. Everyone in your class will be writing negative things, try to think outside of the box and other ideas of what a 'women' in the book symbolises.
    Dont forgot its not just Curley's wife that shows up. The women in the beginning of the novel whom Lennie gets in trouble with and also Lennie's Aunt. You could/ should bring them up as well.

    Hope I haven't mistaken any facts/ characters.
    Lastly, to achieve an A/A* which is what i assume you want, you should be aiming for 2+ pages

    Good luck
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