Of Mice and Men is set in the 1930’s during which time there was an economical depression, this made it hard for people to find work, save money and live a normal life. Many migrant workers started coming over from neighbouring countries like Mexico also in the hunt for jobs that were becoming harder to find as people took jobs to try and earn money for food. Racial prejudice was still a common thing in 1930’s America, Blacks were seen to be inferior and have no social status with any communities so this depression was even worse for them as they were still treated like slaves and nobody would give them work.
Due to this depression people had to look further for work this often meant leaving their families and communities making them lonely and isolated. Working communities like the ranch in the novel had to work hard to ensure they kept their jobs. Candy is the old handyman on the ranch he used to be a normal rancher but after loosing his hand in the machine he has been deemed almost useless and now has to clean the bunkhouse and keep everything in order.
He has no social status within the community and he is very low down the pecking order as he is old and useless. Candy only has one companion; which is his old dog that never leaves his side. Candy’s main fear is that the boss will decide that he is too old and useless to work anymore and will can him so he spends nearly all the time worrying about getting canned. Steinbeck uses the dog to comparison to Candy as the dog represents Candy, he is old and useless and it reminds the reader the inevitable fate that awaits anybody who outlives there usefulness.
Carlson decides its best for the dog to be shot, Candy tries to get him to change his mind but because of the lack of his social status he is unable to overrule Carlson’s decision this shows just how important it is to have a high social status within the community. Steinbeck creates tension on page 75, this is when the dog is just about to be shot by Carlson, Steinbeck uses short sharp sentences and uses the other characters to build up to the moment the shot is fired, after the shot is fired Candy turns on his side and faces the wall, this represents the feeling of loneliness and isolation that shooting this dog brings to Candy.
Candy shows extreme desire to take part in the dream with George and Lennie as it allows his to be apart of something again and escape the inevitable fate that awaits him on the ranch, he offers a large sum of money that makes the dream almost a reality and when the plan is agreed Candy is filled with optimism and hope and clings to the idea of freedom. However when Curleys wife is killed by Lennie the dream that the three men shared comes crashing down, crushing Candy as his last chance for freedom ends.
His inevitable fate looks more likely than ever, his future at the ranch looks like its coming to and end and the treat of getting canned looms even larger. Crooks is the stable buck on the ranch, he is the most isolated character I the novel as he is black, he is segregated from everybody else on the ranch and he lives in a room next to the barn, He is severely disabled with a crooked spine this is the reason why he is given the name Crooks.
Steinbeck slowly introduces Crooks and he is first introduced by Candy who explains he is a victim of racial discrimination, he explains how at Christmas he was invited in to the bunkhouse and beaten as entertainment for the other rancher, this shows how little respect he is given and how low he is on the social ladder. Lennie is the first person who enters Crook’s room at first he is very defensive but soon warms to Lennie because he is the first persons he has spoke to for a long time because he is always so isolated because he is black.
He shares his wisdom and knowledge with Lennie but he also tells him about his childhood and how he wasn’t always discriminated against and how good things used to be. After talking to Lennie and Candy he soon becomes interested in there dream until Curleys wife shows the racial prejudice and hate that has torn his life apart she says “Listen nigger you know what I can do if you open your trap” Crooks tries to make himself invisible to escape the prejudice from Curleys wife.
Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch and the female character in the novel. Curley is very protective of her, as if she is something that belongs to him but that everyone else desires. Curley stops her from socializing with the other men, meaning that she has nobody else but Curley because she is so lonely she is always seeking attention and putting great effort into her looks. Her over-the top appearance portrays her desperation to be noticed.
She is unable to make any connections with the men on the ranch, the only people she ever comes in contact with, because they see her as “jailbait” and know that any sort of involvement with her would cause trouble with Curley, She is very manipulative and cunning and she draws in people that are weaker than her like Lennie she takes a liking to Lennie as he is the only one that can hurt Curley. She is very unhappy in her marriage to Curley because of the isolation she I forced to be kept in.
As she is the only woman on the ranch she is right down the social hierarchy this isolates her even more as nobody will listen for have anything to do with her because of her reputation as ‘Jailbait’. Curleys wife also has a dream, her dream is to become a actress it was the thought that her dreams had been shattered that caused her to rush into marriage with Curley she blamed her mother for hiding the letters even though she never received any.
Curleys wifes death is one of the major events in the novel, she is killed my Lennie after she entices him to feel her hair however Lennie likes to pet soft things and he cant let go of her hair this distresses Curleys wife and when she shouts for helo he panics and accidentally kills her.
Steinbeck creates sympathy for Curleys wife because on the ranch she didn’t have much of a life and she had to try and get out of the isolation which eventually got her killed she paid to price for her actions. The novel is set in Soledad, the word dole means alone and solitary which helps set the theme of loneliness. Loneliness plays and important part in the novel as it helps build up events and show the desperate times the novel was set in.
Cite this How Does Steinbeck Create Curleys Wifes Death
How Does Steinbeck Create Curleys Wifes Death. (2017, Mar 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/how-does-steinbeck-create-curleys-wifes-death/