In this passage, what methods does Steinbeck use to present Curley’s wife and the attitudes of others around her? And
How does Steinbeck present attitudes towards women in the society in which the novel is set? Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife to represent how many women in the 1930s were classed below men, and how this prejudice allowed their lives to be defined by the men around them. In this passage, Steinbeck has manipulated Curley’s wife’s appearance in order to reinforce our pre judged feelings towards her, based on gossip and rumours told by Candy. At the beginning of the passage, Steinbeck uses contrast and repetition to create strong imagery in our minds regarding Curley’s wife. The careful juxtaposition of ‘the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off’ and ‘a girl’ is surprising and shows the reader how despite these tones of darkness and immorality conveyed Steinbeck about her, she is but a young, naïve little girl. She is also ‘looking in’, which effectively conveys curiosity and shows how apart from everyone she is, and could suggest a longing for friendship or a life more interesting than on the ranch. The adjective ‘red’ has connotations of evil and dishonesty and could cause the reader to feel contempt towards her, and its repetition underlines the extent of her dislikeable features. Steinbeck also convincingly portrays an air of confidence about her and causes her to seem attention-seeking by using her actions, and saying that ‘her body was thrown forward’. The verb ‘thrown’ immediately conveys the harshness and strength of the action, suggesting that she is truly desperate for attention, and perhaps even for sexual attention from the men, as throwing her body forward would highlight her features. However, when Lennie begins to look at her, ‘she bridled a little’, which could convey coyness. On the other hand, I think it further shows her naivety, as she seems slightly unaware of the consequences of her actions and isn’t sure of the...
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