could someone take a look at my english lit essay? Watch
It is extremely notable that Curley’s character is instinctively dangerous from his appearance in the novella. The first time he appears in the novella, Steinbeck presents him to “glance coldly” at George and Lennie and his looks were “calculating and pugnacious”. Through the adverb “coldly”, Steinbeck emphasises that his first reaction is to view the new ranchmen as opponents and he becomes “calculating and pugnacious”. Through this the reader is made aware of the danger within Curley, Steinbeck presents to the reader that he does not view others, even strangers, as equals but rather he sees them to be his enemies or opponents. However, one may suggest that this reaction within Curley is due to his history of being a boxer as Candy had revealed before, and thus it is only natural for him to view others as his opponents. But on the other hand, even the other character’s immediately realise that he is a threat, George after his first encounter with Curley stated, “This Curley sounds like a son-of-a-***** to me”. Through the presentation of George’s first reaction to Curley, Steinbeck emphasises to the reader that Curley’s character is one to be despised due to the danger he possesses to Lennie.
Another reason for a reader to believe that Curley is a danger to others is due to the reaction of his wife when she realises that Curley is at home waiting for her. Steinbeck presents her fear towards her husband notably as her character changes from “playfully” to “apprehensively” immediately after she hears her husband is home. This sudden change from her being flirtatious to scared emphasises the fact that the relationship between Curley and his wife is strained and is controlled by Curley. One may even suggest that the reason Curley’s wife immediately become apprehensive is due to a possible violent relationship between her and her husband. It is notable for the reader to realise that Curley is a powerful man on the ranch in 1930’s America, he is a white citizen who is the son of the boss of the ranch. Through Steinbeck’s presentation of the character as such, it is evident that he believes that his wife should be at home waiting for him, and he expects her to be his prized possession and thus her name on the ranch is “Curley’s wife” emphasising that fact that she is owned by him. Furthermore, the idea this relationship is strained is highlighted by Steinbeck when Curley’s wife tells Lennie, “Ain’t I got a right to talk to anyone? I can’t talk to nobody, else Curley gets mad.” The fact that Curley is mad at her for speaking to others is indicative of the fact he is a danger to her life as a woman on the ranch, she is to be merely his possession only. Thus the reader is aware of the fact that Curley is a danger to his wife and through his character Steinbeck emphasises the theme of violence in his character.
Perhaps one may suggest that Curley is purely only a danger to his wife. Steinbeck presents him to be a danger to the dignity of his wife as Candy reveals “That glove’s fulla Vaseline. Curley says he’s keepin’ that hand soft for his wife.” Through spreading such vulgar rumours about his relationship with his wife to the other ranchmen, Curley destroys the little dignity she has in front of the other men. It is significant that the other men already view her as a “jailbait”, “rattrap” and a “*****”, however, it is notable that he does not stand by his wife’s side but instead spreads further vulgar rumours about their relationship and thus he is poses as a danger to his wife’s dignity. Through this presentation, Steinbeck emphasises to the reader that Curley’s character is one who does not even respect his wife and thus the reader will become shocked at such a disgusting character. Through his presentation of Curley, Steinbeck emphasises the authority and status of a white man on the ranch, the reader is exposed to the fact that Curley can treat his wife like an object yet he faces no repercussions.
On the other hand, Curley does not pose as a danger to another person’s life. In comparison to Lennie, Curley is not a danger to others. Due to Lennie’s uncontrollable strength, Curley is not a threat to other to the same extent. This is evident when Lennie grabs Curley and he “flops like a fish” and his hand becomes “crushed”. Furthermore, the danger to others within Lennie is evident when Slim whom Steinbeck describes through his authorial comment as “the prince of the ranch”, “regards Lennie with horror” at what he did to Curley. Steinbeck emphasises the fact that if a man like Slim is horrified, then Lennie’s strength is so powerful it threatens the lives of others whereas Curley only threatens the dignity or wants to fight the other characters. Thus one may argue that Curley should not be regarded as a danger to others, however on the other hand it must be noted that Curley began the fight as he said “Get up ya son-of-a-*****, I ain’t gonna let nobody laugh at me”, through initiating the fight he posed as a danger to Lennie’s mental stability as Lennie gave a “shriek of pain” and only fought when George says “Get ‘im Lennie”. Thus the reader is made aware of the fact that Curley had brought his “crushed” hand upon himself and it is due to his danger to others that this incident occurred. Furthermore, Lennie poses more of a threat to the other characters as he kills Curley’s wife, Steinbeck describes him to “put one hand around her mouth” and she gave out a “hoarse cry”, a “muffled scream” until “she flopped like a fish on a line.” Through his incontrollable strength, Steinbeck emphasises the fact that Lennie is capable of killing another human without realisation and in comparison to Curley, he is far more dangerous. Thus the reader may accept the fact Curley is less dangerous than Lennie.
Curley’s character is also evidently dangerous as Steinbeck presents him to be self-conscious about the fact that he is a short man. This ‘short guy syndrome’, is revealed to the reader when Candy reveals to George and Lennie, “Curley’s pickin’ scraps alla time with big guys…like he’s mad at ‘em for not being a big guy.” On one hand, some may feel sorry for him for being insecure about his height, however it must also be noted he began the fight with Lennie due to this reason. He repeatedly provokes Lennie from the start of the novella, in the first encounter he tells George “Let the big guy talk.” Steinbeck’s presentation of him to be a man who provokes others to fight with him emphasises the fact he is a danger to the other character and thus the reader is disgusted by his character.
Perhaps the final revelation of the fact that Curley is a dangerous character is when his first instinct after his wife died is not grief but rather he immediately seeks revenge. His first words after his wife died were, “I’ll shoot that son of a ***** myself” and runs to get his gun. Thus it is evident that this character is a threat constantly to all those around him as violence is the only characteristic he contains. Through this revelation, Steinbeck emphasises the fact that Curley’s character is incapable of any other feeling other than violence, through all his appearances in the novella he creates a tense atmosphere. The reader thus despises his attitude towards his wife’s death as Steinbeck describes Slim to “place his finger under her neck”, to check whether she was breathing, not Curley. He is too excited to seek revenge that he does not even grieve for him wife or check to see whether she is alive like Slim.
In conclusion, it should be notable that Curley’s character poses a threat to all those around him as Steinbeck presents him to be a dangerous character who only possesses the characteristic of violence. Through his initial reaction of meeting George and Lennie, his treatment of his wife and also him fighting with Lennie after provoking the fight, it is evident that he is an extremely violent character. It is also notable that Curley does not pose a threat to the other character’s lives to the extent that Lennie does as Lennie is capable of hurting Curley and he killed his wife and thus he should be considered more dangerous to others on the ranch.
This is really good! if you're taking wjec, this would get around 18/19 out of 20, an A*. The only thing i can suggest to improve is useing semi-colons in place of commas because that shows you have a good understanding of punctuation, something included in th markscheme. You could also mention that Slim has takien Curley's role as "prince of the ranch" and explore their relationship. Good luck for the exam!