How women are presented in ‘Of Mice and Men’
“Of Mice and Men” is set in a male environment where there are not many women presented. Curley’s wife is the single female character in the novel. We learn about several other women that are mentioned in the story - Lennie’s Aunt Clara, the women in the red dress and other two local brother keepers - who compose the entire portrait of women presented in the novel.
The portrayal of women in “Of Mice and Men” is unflattering.
Steinbeck shows women as inferior and obedient. Curley’s wife, the only female character that plays a real role in the novel, has not given a name. She is known as “Curley’s wife” being presented as belonging to her husband without having an identity on her own. ‘Think I like to stick in that house alla time?’, says she talking to the workers in the bunch-house. This shows how were expected the women to behave in the 1930s only to please their husbands and obey them. During the Great Depression, women used to be submissive to the men they were belonging to.
Steinbeck also presents women as sexual temptations and trouble-makers. George and Lennie have a childhood friend who is in prison “on account of a tart”. Also their own troubles result from a tempting attitude of two women; the woman in Weed and Curley’s wife.
We find early in the novel that George and Lennie have run away from the previous ranch where they worked due to trouble there with a woman. Because of misunderstanding of Lennie’s love for soft things, she accused him for rapping when he touched her dress. George is convinced that women are always the cause of such problems as they tempt men to behave in such a way that they wouldn’t act without being provoked.
Women are a kind of absent symbol in the book, being there only to complete the picture where men are the main characters. As the men on the ranch cannot settle down, a visit to a brothel is enough of women for them. They...