Can someone read my essay on Curley from Of Mice and Men please? Also, could you grade it and give me feedback? Thanks.
“How is the character of Curley important to the novel as a whole?”
John Steinbeck wrote the novella “Of Mice & Men” in 1937 when migrant working was most prominent in America. Many workers would have to leave their homes and their old jobs to work on ranches, sometimes miles away from any family that they have, just so they could provide for themselves and any family they had. Many of these ranchers were lonely and to fight for respect and authority by proving their masculinity. For the elderly and the black, finding a paying job was even more difficult because in many bosses’ eyes they couldn’t do the same work as a young, white man. America was still suffering from the effects of the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression at the time the novella came out, meaning all work was scarce and wages were decreasing. Steinbeck wrote the novella with the intention of drawing people’s attention to the fact that everybody can work if you give them a chance and that nobody should be segregated or discriminated again because of their race, gender, age or mental stability.
The character of Curley is important to the novel as a whole because he is constantly set on proving himself to the other ranchers, and, arguably, himself. “Glove fulla vaseline,” implies that Curley purposely flaunts his glove that he uses to keep his ‘hand soft for his wife’ to prove his masculinity to himself and the other ranchers. He makes these obscene gestures about his wife, degrading her, yet he still goes to the brothel on a Saturday night with the others, suggesting that he only really married a physically attractive woman to prove that he could get any woman that he so desired. Unfortunately for Curley, not all the ranchers are impressed by his ‘masculinity.’ After Candy’s explained to George about Curley’s glove and why he wears it, George expresses that “that’s a dirty secret to be tellin’ around,” demonstrating that, even though George does occasionally visit the brothel, he finds this degrading and rude, especially since Curley is flaunting his and his wife’s sex life around shamelessly. This makes the reader automatically dislike Curley’s character because he comes across as being cocky and arrogant because he holds some authority in the ranch.
Additionally, Curley is also important to the novel as a whole because he contributes to the theme of power. Candy explains that Curley “won’t ever get canned ‘cause his old man’s the boss,” which reflects that Curley uses his father’s status to his advantage and it makes him hold power of many of the ranchers, even though he can’t necessarily do anything to them. Curley is also described as wearing “high heeled boots like the bosses’,” implying that Curley has to dress just like his father so that people will respect him and it also makes people understand that he is the bosses son. Arguably, Curley can be seen as having power through Steinbeck not giving Curley’s Wife a first name, suggesting that she’s like a possession to Curley and by having her called ‘Curley’s Wife’ throughout the whole novel everyone can understand and address the fact that she ‘belongs’ to him. This makes the reader find Curley pathetic because he has to use his father’s position to get people to respect him and he also has to express his wife as ‘Curley’s Wife’ to make people take him seriously.
Similarly, Curley is important to the novel as a whole because he is expressed through the theme of violence. “Alla time picking up scraps,” conveys that Curley uses violence to intimidate people into believing that he holds most of the authority over the ranch and its workers. It also creates the impression that Curley picks fights with people that don’t agree with him and challenge him on his decisions, as it’s obviously from the fact that George talks back to him, that he’s not used to people telling him no and disagreeing with him. He also always picks fights with big guys. “Kind of like he’s mad at ‘em cos he ain’t a big guy,” demonstrates that fighting people bigger than him also adds to his masculinity and this authority filled persona he’s built up around himself. This makes the reader feel sympathy for Curley because, he may act cruel and evil toward almost everyone, but he constantly has to prove himself and he, in a way, tries to be more like Slim, who everyone respects and idolises even though he isn’t the bosses’ son.
Curley is also important to the novel as a whole because he highlights and emphasises his wife’s loneliness. “Curley ain’t a nice fella,” affirms that Curley doesn’t treat his wife properly and doesn’t really pay her any attention, which causes her to often hang around the bunkhouse talking to the other males. Curley once accuses Slim of sleeping with his wife, even though he ironically visits the whorehouse on a regular occasion, when all Slim was doing was giving Curley’s Wife some of the attention that Curley doesn’t give her. “I can’t to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad.” Highlights that Curley neglects his wife, but he still doesn’t want any other men talking to her because he feels as if other people will respect him less and will feel as if he can’t control his wife or that he doesn’t satisfy her enough so she has to seek satisfaction from others, such as Slim. This makes the reader feel pity for Curley’s Wife because her husband not only neglects her, but also wants her to be neglected by everyone else because he doesn’t want his reputation or ego to be damaged.
Finally, Curley is important to the novel because he plays a big, if not the biggest part, in the death of his wife. “How’d you like not to talk to nobody?” conveys that if Curley had treated his wife properly then she wouldn’t have felt the need to seek attention from other people and she wouldn’t have finally had to settle for Lennie as company. She asks Lennie to pet her hair, probably because Curley doesn’t touch her, which she wouldn’t have done if he’d have respected her and actually made her feel loved and made her feel like his wife. Also, once she has died, Curley doesn’t exactly seem phased by the fact that his wife has been killed, he’s more bothered about who killed her so he reacts the way he does because he wants revenge on Lennie, especially after Lennie crushed his hand in the fight and left him embarrassed and humiliated. This makes the reader keep the same view they had on Curley when he was first introduced in chapter two: dislike and hate. Throughout the novel, Curley continues to be violent and, sometimes even ruthless, he picks on Lennie because he thinks that he might be the weakest because of his mental state and he’s awful to the vast majority of the characters, excluding Slim, which causes the reader to dislike him.
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- Thread Starter
- 16-05-2015 22:21