Of Mice and Men

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by jwyzy103
Last updated 8 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Literature

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Of Mice and Men

10:145, 152-153Was she thy God,lovely to attractThy love, not thy subjection

Rosie fumbled with the cap of her scarlet lipstick. She winced as she smoothed a thick layer of rouge accross puffy lips. "Never seen Curley so mad as last night." she thought. "Said I was talkin to slim out back yesterday. I wasn't talkin to Slim. Even if I wanted to he wouldn't talk to me anyhow." Rosie reached for her old feathered mules. The ones a man back home gave her so she could try out for those pictcher shows. Her favorite shoes. They made her feel like somebody even when she felt like nobody. Invisible.

The big guy's starin at me like I've got three heads or somethin. They all stare at me that way. What'd I do to any of them anyhow? Ain't I pretty enough? Ain't I worth talkin to? I havn't talked to no one since breakfast and that was just to ask if Curley wanted more bread... This isn't the life I wanted. I coulda been somebody besides Curley's Wife. Somebody I liked.

Rosie made her way to the bunk house. She hadn't seen Curley all day and she wondered if he was still mad. When she walked in she saw two fella's there unpacking. New workers brought in this mornin. She smiled her best Hollywood smile. Maybe they'd be impressed. Maybe they'd say she belonged ina pitcher show.She coulda afterall. Mayve she could still. What if one of these guys new somebody. They didn't look it but they might, and then maybe they'd write them and..well, At least maybe they'd talk to her. She hadn't talked to no one all day.

"A girl was standing there looking in. She had full, Rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages. She wore a cotton house dress and red mules, on the in-steps were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers"Of Mice and Men, 31This discription of Curley's wife has been read as a signal of danger as indicated by the red she is wearing (her lips, nails, shoes).The men view Curley's wife as a dangerous temptation because assoociating with her could lead to jail, death or dismissal from the farm.Curley's wife's clothing could also be read however as a woman starving for attention. Her overdone makeup could represent a lack of self esteem, overcompensating for the absence of attention from her husband and the farm workers.Or, conversely, Curley's wife could simply like dressing up. We know that she had a desire to become a Hollywood movie star. Her clothing could be reminicent of this deferred dream.

"Ain't I got a right to talk to nobody? Whatta they think I am anyways? You're a nice guy. I don't know why I can't talk to you. I ain't doin no harm to you...Seems like they ain't none of em care how I gotta live. I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin of myself." Of Mice and Men, 88Again, we see a glimpse into the lonely life of Curley's wife. Starving for attention, Curley's wife "hunts out" the men on the farm searching for someone to talk to. Her temptation for fame and attention causes several problems throughout the novel for herself and the farm workers. She earns a reputation as a "tart" and "jail bate" from the farm workers for seeking out their attention.

"Well I think Curley's married ...a tart."Of Mice and Men, 28

Tart: "A woman considered to be sexually promiscous" -thefreedictionary.com

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Phenomenal WomanPretty women wonder where my secret lies.I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I'm telling lies.I say,It's in the reach of my armsThe span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.I walk into a roomJust as cool as you please,And to a man,The fellows stand orFall down on their knees.Then they swarm around me,A hive of honey bees.I say,It's the fire in my eyes,And the flash of my teeth,The swing in my waist,And the joy in my feet.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.Men themselves have wonderedWhat they see in me.They try so muchBut they can't touchMy inner mystery.When I try to show themThey say they still can't see.I say,It's in the arch of my back,The sun of my smile,The ride of my breasts,The grace of my style.I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me.Now you understandJust why my head's not bowed.I don't shout or jump aboutOr have to talk real loud.When you see me passingIt ought to make you proud.I say,It's in the click of my heels,The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,The need of my care,'Cause I'm a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That's me. Maya Angelou

"I seen 'em poison before, but I've never seen no piece of jail bate worse than her. You Leave her be."Of Mice and Men, 32Jailbate has been contextualized within American Youth Culture to define a sexually promiscuous underage girl. When a man engages in relations with this girl he faces time in jail. This term is therefore symbolic of a woman who will get you into trouble.Curley's Wife could be associated with "jail bate" because conversing with her could lead to serious consequences for the men on the farm regardless of whether those conversations were innocent or not. Therefore, Curley's wife is viewed as trouble and is disliked by the farm workers.

"Coulda been in the movies, an' had nice clothes- all them nice clothes like they wear. an' I coulda sat in them big hotels, an' had nice clothes-all them nice clothes they wear. An' I coulda sat in them big hotels, an' had pitchers took of me." Of Mice and Men 89This quote illustrates Curley's wife's dream deffered. She had the dream of becoming a Hollywood star but gave it up for a life with Curley. We hear the echo of this lost dream tempting her throughout the novel. Curley's wife is desperate for the attention she could have gotten as a Hollywood star. This attention can be read as her character's temptation throughout the novel and is ultimately her undoing.

A Dream DeferredBy Langston HughesWhat happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.Or does it explode?

I chose this poem because it overlaps with the themes of temptation and dreams. Curley's wife deferred her dream of becoming a Hollywood star for the security that came with marrying Curley. The temptation of the deferred dream still lingers in her dreams and comes can be read as a reason she dresses in heavy makeup and red feather mules as well as strives for attention among the farm workers.

This video has generated several interpretations within our class in connection with portrayals of gender, one of which being an empowering image of women playing the man's game in order to get ahead. While Katey Perry is seen as the victor of the game, I do not think the same can be said of Curley's wife, a character who remainded trapped within the game. We do not get a sense of Curley's wife actively pursuing her freedom. Rather, she seems to have given in and "settled" for a man she does not like. One reason may be the lack of allies Curley's wife has on her side. Curley's wife is ostrasized from the workers and Curley and believes she was betrayed by her "old lady".

http://www.feminist.org/research/business/ewb_glass.html

Where did societies view of women as temptresses come from? Is this view still around today?

How does temptation affect my ability to achieve personal goals? Can this temptation be overcome?

Why did Curley's wife give up on her dream?

Why are the workers so hostile towards Curley's Wife? Why do they fear her?

"I seen guys nearly crazy with lonliness for land, but ever' time a whore house or a blackjack game took what it takes." Of Mice and Men 76One reason for the farm workers hostility toward Curley's wife might be their association of women with robbing them of their dreams. The women in the cat houses take the stake the workers have earned leaving them unable to fulfill their dreams. Curley's wife will not take their stake but could do more damange than the cat house ladies.


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