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Hey guys, I have my English Lit exam tomorrow and I would really appreciate it if you could give me some last minute feedback on what I could do to improve XD

The question is from the June 2012 Unit 1 paper and involves talking about Curley's wife from what is given in a short passage (Lennie and George's first run in with her)

Thanks for helping

'My Answer

In John Steinbeck’s novella ‘Of Mice and Men’, Curley’s wife plays an integral part in the plot and various methods are used to portray both her personal feelings and other people’s descriptions towards here.

From the opening passage, it becomes clear that Curley’s wife is a very needy and socially isolated person. This is evident from Steinbeck’s detailed description into the attire of Curley’s wife, choosing to describe her appearance in meticulous detail, such as the “red ostrich feathers” and “full, rouged lips”. We can see that red is a common theme in the way she chooses to dress, and this has connotations of desire and affection symbolising Curley’s wife desperate need for social contact and how she feels lonely in her position as the only woman on the ranch. The cursory way George “looked at her and looked back” implies that he has seen through her*façade and already has an idea that she will lead to trouble, so prefers to stay away from her. This is just one example of the various linguistic devices used to give an insight into the characters of Curley’s wife.

In addition to this, Steinbeck also uses Curley’s wife as a device to advance the plot and foreshadow some of the events that will happen later on in the novel. The “rectangle of light” being “cut off” when Curley’s wife enters is used as a metaphor for Lennie and George’s futile dream of eventually owning their own plot of land, and the extinguishing of light in this manner represents how Curley’s wife will be an obstacle in their pursuit of this goal. Through this skilful use of foreshadowing, Steinbeck hints to the reader that Curley’s wife will be an antagonistic character and manages to influence the reader’s perception of her from the very outset of her introduction.

Finally, her fear of Curley is apparent to us in this passage. As soon as Slim mentions that Curley is searching for her around the house, her mood changes from coy and flirtatious to "suddenly apprehensive" and she "hurries away". This shows that she is afraid of Curley finding out about her talking with other men, mainly because of Curley's possessive and demeaning attitude towards her. It is apparent that she prefers to spend her time away from Curley because Slim catches her lying about "trying to find Curley" when in actuality she was merely looking for someone to talk to to relieve her loneliness. My interpretation of her treatment and feelings throughout this passage is that Steinbeck has used her as a microcosm for the treatment and position in the social hierarchy of women in the 1930s era, which is also shown by her marginalization as the only female character on the ranch.

In conclusion, I feel that Curley's wife is pivotal to the development of the plot and represents the pinnacle of isolation on the ranch, being someone who is shunned by absolutely everyone on the ranch, even her own husband.

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Nikkalus
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great piece of work, should get you some high marks

to improve it, I'd say to relate how your interpretations may be seen at other points in the story. In your first paragraph, you've talked about Curley's wife being isolated, but talk about how that isolation motivates her later on in the novel. For instance, you can talk about how she confesses to George in the 6th chapter, and how she admits to dreaming about being a movie star (in which she would be respected and loved by many people), but how that dream was never fulfilled, relating it back to the main theme of loneliness

I've got my exam tomorrow too. Good luck!
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(Original post by Nikkalus)
great piece of work, should get you some high marks

to improve it, I'd say to relate how your interpretations may be seen at other points in the story. In your first paragraph, you've talked about Curley's wife being isolated, but talk about how that isolation motivates her later on in the novel. For instance, you can talk about how she confesses to George in the 6th chapter, and how she admits to dreaming about being a movie star (in which she would be respected and loved by many people), but how that dream was never fulfilled, relating it back to the main theme of loneliness

I've got my exam tomorrow too. Good luck!
Thanks a lot for your feedback!

I would have talked about other points, but this particular questions was focused on a certain passage and you couldn't really stray away from that too much I'll be sure to keep your tips in mind though!

Same to you, hopefully we'll both smash it! Good luck

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