She befriends Leonie because she feels that he still has his kindness about him and thinks of him as a ‘big baby. She also refers to Candy, Crooks and Leonie as the Weak ones’ whilst she is talking to them and ‘liken it’ because there’s no one else. She plays a big part in the tragic end of the novel because she was the reason George killed Leonie. Her need for attention resulted in her death and because Leonie was the one that killed her, it made George realism that Leonie could not be controlled and will probably go on to as Curlers Wife.
This symbolizes that she Is no more than property to Curler; It Illustrates how unimportant she Is on the ranch and In society In the sass and it also allows the deader the opportunity to consider her character more. By not giving her a name Steinbeck Is actually being Ironic by showing that she Is unimportant; yet really she Is the catalyst for the tragic end. This essay will discuss how Curlers wife Is portrayed and how she is viewed by the other characters in the novel. Curler’s Wife has been described as ‘a tart’ by Candy, ‘purity by Leonie and a ‘piece of jail bait’ by George.
Before she is even introduced in the novel, Candy has already described her as a tart’ Steinbeck did this to prejudice the reader so that we have an immediate opinion about her before she has even appeared. From this point, Steinbeck begins to challenge and change the reader’s opinion of her. Her attitude towards the other men on the ranch is flirty and playful yet almost everything she says seems to have an almost dangerous undertone. “I’ll talk to you later. I like machines”.
This quote from Curlers Wife gives the reader a sense of what’s to come and also gives the suggestion that something Is going to happen between Curlers Wife and Leonie. Whenever she appears It Is always silently and suddenly, “Jesus Christ, Curlers Wife can move quiet. I guess she had a lot of practice, though”: it is almost as if she creeps round maybe listening for the male voices of the ranch workers: to find out whom to flirt with next. This adds to the reader’s first impression of her being a tart’. Her use of body language is also very provocative and is symbolic as a prediction of the unfortunate ending.
Another aspect of the novel that is used symbolically is light. It is always ‘cut off by her body, “the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. A girl was standing there looking in. ” The blunt way in which the light is ‘cut off refers to her the blunt way in which her life was cut short. By cutting of the light she could also be cutting off the hope for the other workers. Curlers Wife’s dream is to become a Hollywood actress. The American dream Is to achieve something in life but Like most dreams It does not always come true.
She believes that her dream almost came true when a fake movie director wanted to make a star. She blamed him not calling on her mother and so, believing that her dream was over, she married Curler. Her the characters had a dream that never came true. For George and Leonie it was to get enough money for a place of their own and once they arrived on the ranch Candy was added to the dream. Towards the end of the novel, Curlers Wife reveals to Leonie her story because she feels he is different from the others; he still has his kindness about him, mania, they get mean…
I can see Leonie anti a bit mean”, and because he has shown a lot of interest in her. She also represents loneliness and her attention seeking is Just a way to deal with her loneliness, it is almost like a learned reflex. Curler gives her no emotional support and instead Just uses her as a sex object. “Well, that glove’s full Baseline… Curler says he’s keeping’ that hand soft for his wife”. She is similar to the ‘bindle stiffs’ in a way that shows that she is one of the Weak ones’. She is misunderstood because everyone Judges her on what they see “She had full, rouged lips… Evilly made up. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules”. The color red symbolizes danger and is another hint at what is yet to come. Nobody talks to her to find out why she acts that way so they do not see the lonely woman that Steinbeck slowly reveals to the reader. Arguably Curlers Wife is the most complicated character in the entire novel. She has many sides to her and is very difficult to understand. At the end of the novel, once she is dead, her true self is revealed and what we imagine is the ‘nice girl’ Steinbeck wanted to portray. And the meanness and the planning and the discontent and the ache for attention were all gone from her face… Now her rouged cheeks and reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly. ” The “ache for attention” shows Just how much emotional pain she was in before the relief of death. Steinbeck has structured the novel in a certain way to shape the reader’s opinion of Curlers Wife from the beginning. He prejudices the reader before we even meet her with phrases like tart’ and ‘Jail-bait’ so e immediately think that she is all those things.
In the middle of the novel her layers of flirtatious behavior, attention seeking and meanness seem to slowly unravel and give hints at the lonely and desperate woman she actually is, “talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs and liking’ it cause there’s no one else”. Finally, her death reveals all the pain and loneliness she felt inside at the end of the novel and Steinbeck leaves the reader thinking of her as a very unlucky and lonely ‘nice girl’. She is seen as a victim of life in the sass where sexism was very much a part of everyday life.