Picture this: the United States just faced the world’s worst economic downfall in the history of industrialization. The Great Depression. It is at the period of time, between 1929 to 1939, when jobs are slim to none. A young woman finds herself in a difficult situation. Driven by the futility of the American Dream, she takes advantage of every opportunity that comes her way, even if fate’s not on her side. The only way she can have a slight chance of achieving her goal and making it her reality is to get married to a rich man. In the story, Of Mice and Men, the author John Steinbeck challenges the idea of Curley’s wife. However, the men on the ranch are quite aware that she doesn’t give off the best first impression, therefore leading to inadequate assumptions about her. Thus, further developing into a topic of discussion as the author reveals her secret that “...I [she] gets awful lonely” (Steinbeck, 94).
To start off, Curley’s wife is offering a misconception. She continually talks to the men on the ranch due to the fact that she lives in a male-dominated area. During this time period, the idea of a woman involved in a place that requires a lot of ‘dirty work’ is hard to comprehend. Elucidating the reason why the men haven’t reached out to create a bond with a person, especially a woman who is seen as ‘useless’ in any type of work form. It’s apparent that Curley’s wife struggles to obtain the attention she wants considering that she experiences isolation and is powerless. Wanting to have some sort of interaction with the people around her, she puts out all the stops to finally be able to talk to someone and experience a connection. All she ever wanted was to feel included. To be apart of something that’s bigger than herself. Regardless of the fact that she tries to become apart of society, her attempts are futile. Based on the reasons provided, the men on the ranch create false judgments depending on the stereotypes that society has created.
In the same fashion, the men who have acted irrationally toward Curley’s wife have established a reputation without her consent. As a result of their actions, their own obstacles are revealed and it showcases how similar the characters are. This especially goes for Candy, Crook, and George. These characters specifically attack an easy target, laying their burdens upon the person’s shoulders. In this case, Curley’s wife is the victim. Curley ‘s wife, a young woman in a place encompassed by the opposing gender. Candy, an old man in a work field full of young men. Crook, a colored man surrounded by white males. George, never wanting to interfere with trouble, distancing himself from society. If these characters were to stand alone, they would be seen as the outcasts of society. They seem to face discrimination in their own certain way. As Candy, Crook, and George become frustrated with their own problems, they use Curley’s wife as an outlet they look upon to gain relief from the stress they experience. As she continually gets labeled as a tart, students begin to understand that the reasons behind being called such a derogatory term aren’t, in fact, logical.
Indeed, Curley’s wife could be interpreted as a misfitting character in the novel, considering that no one seems to relate to her from a distance. Although, she is misunderstood. Stuck with their own opinions and not open to changing their perspectives is the justification behind the use of the term tart. In truth, the accurate description of Curley’s wife is that she’s a simple and pretty young woman. It is admirable to see Curley’s wife's description grow and develop from a nuisance of a character to someone people relate to, gaining a reaction out of many readers. Supposedly, the men on the ranch presume that Curley’s wife’s life seems ideal. Too perfect. Too superficial. She has the money, the luxury, the benefits. She wants them to understand that life isn’t perfect. She represents all the people that have ever failed and haven’t truly attained the dreams they strive for. She knows that beauty is her power using this as an advantage to get where she wants. She intends to use her body due to the fact that she is the only female. Grasping this sort of information, and being able to apply it towards the accurate description of Curley’s wife clears the fog as readers begin to know her true intentions.
Given these points, people are now aware of the fact that Curley’s wife is suffering from loneliness and seclusion. The topic is very contentious, especially revolving around the character’s own opinions about her. Nevertheless, Curley’s wife is just a lonesome young female who just wants to experience inclusion. For many reasons, it is clear that her life isn’t what the workers on the ranch make it out to be. Her life isn’t ideal. She is just a lonely individual that uses the mentality of the law of attraction, the idea that if she seems remotely interested in a person, they must return the feelings. Overcome with the obligation to talk to men, Curley’s wife is labeled as tart. So, the accurate description of Curley’s wife may seem correct at first, but as readers begin to analyze her, they start to conclude that everyone else on the ranch that ever thought otherwise, was, in fact, correct.