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Of Mice and Men

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Curley’s wife

Look at the following quotations descibing Curley’s wife. What does each quotation suggest about her? “She had full, rouged lips and wide-spread eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages” “Think I’m gonna stay in that two-by-four house and listen how Curley’s gonna lead with his left twice, and then bring in the ol’ right” “He says he was gonna put me in the movies” “Her face was sweet and young”

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Activity

On the facing page is a copy fo the letter written by Steinbeck to Miss Luce, an actress who first played Curley’s wife on stage. How does Steinbeck’s description of Curley’s wife differ from your own opinions, or even, the opinions of the other men on the farm.

Homework Dear

Diar y,

Write a diary entry as Curley’s wife. expressing her dissatisfaction with her life as a newlywed and her lonely life on the ranch.

I h ave been livin now g on .... the farm for two w ee ks

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Dear Miss Luce: Annie Laurie says you are worried ab out your playing of although from the the part of Curley’s reviews it appears wife that you are playing grateful to you and it marvelously. I am to the others in th deeply e cast for your feeli surely made it muc ng about the play. h more than it wa Yo u s by such a feeling have . About the girl--I do n’t know of course what you think ab should tell you a lit out her, but perhap tle about her as I kn s if I ow her, it might cl She grew up in an ear your feeling ab atmosphere of fight out her. ing and suspicion. that she must neve Quite early she lea r trust any one bu rned t she was never ab A natural trustful le to carry out what ness broke through she learned. constantly and ever moral training wa y time it did, she go s most rigid. She t her. her was told over and because that was th over that she must e only way she coul re m ain a virgin d get a husband. that it became a fix This was harped on ation. It would ha so often ve been impossible that one thing to se to seduce her. She ll and she knew it. had only Now, she was train ed by threat not on ly at home but by of fear or weaknes other kids. And an s brought an insta y show nt persecution. Sh fright. And automa e learned to be hard tically she became to cover her hardest when she night, kind girl, no was most frightene t a floozy. No man d. She is a has ever considered to try to make. Sh her as anything ex e has never talked cept a girl to a man except in she is not highly se the sexual fencing xed particularly bu co nversation. t knows instinctive all, it will be becaus ly that if she is to e some one finds he be noticed at r sexually desirable . As to her actual se xual life--she has ha d none except with probably been no co Curley and there ha nsummation there s since Curley would and would probably not consider her gr be suspicious if sh atification e had any. Conseq She knows utterly uently she is a little nothing about sex starved. except the mass mi another. If anyone sinformation girls --a man or woman--e te ll one ver gave her a brea she would be a sla k--treated her like ve to that person. a person-Her craving for co her background, is ntact is immense bu incapable of concei t sh e, with ving any contact wi With all this--if you thout some sexual knew her, if you co co ntext. uld ever break down she has built up, yo a thousand little de u would find a nice fen person, an honest ses by loving her. But person, and you wo such a thing could uld end up never happen. I hope you won’t th ink I’m preaching. I’ve known this girl tell you what she is and I’m just trying like. She is afraid to of everyone in the that, haven’t you? world. You’ve know You can see them n girls like in Central Park on groups for protectio a hot night. They n. They pretend to tr avel in be wise and hard an d voluptuous. I have a feeling that you know all this an d that you are doin forgive me if I seem g all this. Please to intrude on your job. I don’t intend because Annie Laur to and I am only writi ie said you wondere ng this d about the girl. It very happy that yo ’s a devil of a hard u have it. part. I am Sincerely, John Steinbeck


Of Mice and Men