Does John Steinbeck Condemn or Condone Curley's Wife? By Amal Alam i Condemn: To judge someone to be guilty to say you disapprove. Condone: to pardon, forgive or over look. So which one of these words does John Steinbeck use for Curley's wife, in the novel based on the Californian Grain Farms in the 1930's 'Of Mice and Men'? The novel in mainly based on 'the ranch'. At the ranch men were only present except for 'Curley's wife' (Curley is the boss's son). Curley's wife first appearance in the novel gave her a judgemental view on her. 'She had full, rouged lips and wide spread eyes, heavily made up.
Her finger nails were red.' This description of her gave us an instant opportunity to judge her from her first appearance as a either an innocent attractive lady, or a made up tart looking for attention which will only lead her to trouble. Most people would have been bias and instantly judge her as a tart as she fits in the stereotype of a tart perfectly with he heavy made up make up and the typical red nail varnish. Our views continued and became stronger as the passage continue to read: 'She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door-frame so that her body was thrown forward.' Curlye's wife instantly starts to degrade her self, as this is very provocative and is the position that you will be in when you are trying to attract a male for attention. At this point the reader then start to see that Curley's wife is looking for sexual attention from the other men, which we all know is not the correct conduct for a married lady. At this point John Steinbeck is condemning Curley's wife using her physical appearance and actions. George's instant reaction towards Curley's wife was also negative and he clearly sees the potential threat she is towards them, and immediately warns Lennie away from Curley's wife by describing her through using words as metaphors: 'bitch', 'poison' and 'jailbait' to make Lennie feel negatively about her so he will not prevent the same problem that occurred in Weed.
John Steinbeck is again condemning Curley's wife by using other characters dialogue. At this point of the novel all the conversations about Curley's wife have been negative (one example above). It seem that every conversation John Steinbeck has written about Curley's wife the word 'tart' has been used to describe her. The scene in Crook's room is another part of the novel that John Steinbeck uses to condemn Curley's wife.
In this scene Candy, Lennie, and Crook are having quiet an intimate conversation about Crook's problems and their possibility of achieving their American Dream. Curley's wife then intrudes their conversation and burst their bubble as she gloats and laugh at the dream saying it was all but 'Baloney'. John Steinbeck condemns Curley's wife here by using her actions and manners, showing how she has no respect for other people's privacy, by walking into Crook's room with out asking and then mocking them. Curley's wife then stats to get into their conversation by asking Lennie 'Where'd you get them bruises on your face?' Curley's wife then tries eagerly to join the men in the conversation, but is quickly dismissed by Candy. John Steinbeck now may be condoning Curley's wife by showing that she is interested to talk to the men because she feels lonely as she is left home alone while Curley has gone to the town. Also for the first time, she is trying to talk to the men with out flirting, or acting like a 'tart'.
Curley's wife then continues to talk to Lennie even though Candy has already dismissed her. 'Who's George?' John Steinbeck is again condoning Curley's wife by showing that she is tolerant and eager to be friendly, however rude Candy is being. Crook then starts to dispute with Curley's wife and demand her to leave his room as she had '... no rights comin' in a coloured man's room.' Our sympathy for Curley's wife s then minimised when she starts to menace Crook in 'scorn' 'Listen, Nigger... You know what I can do if you open your trap?' She immediately crushes Crook's 'ego' and humiliates him in front of his colleagues and makes him feel like 'nothing'. Curley's wife may have had such a vindictive response for her own pleasure.
She probably done it so she can feel superior John Steinbeck is going back now to condemning Curley's wife. He does this by Crook's reaction towards Curley's wife and showing Curley's wife's true inner bitch. The next and final scene of the novel Curley's wife is in is the scene when she comes into the barn to talk to Lennie. Through out this scene we get to find out about Curley's wife personality and feelings deep down, which know one else has seen.
In this scene Curley's wife confides to Lennie even though he does not seem to really understand her. This shows how desperate she is to talk to some one. She starts the conversation with Lennie by saying how 'lonely's he is and how she '... can't talk to nobody but Curley.' As Lennie starts to get comfortable to talk to Curley's wife he tells her that he is not allowed to talk to Curley's wife.
She then becomes frustrated and starts to dispute, 'Aint I got no right to talk to nobody? What ta they think I am, any ways?' This is the first time we actually do realise in this novel how much Curley's wife is neglected by all the other characters. At this point John Steinbeck is condoning Curley's wife making us feel through her dialogue that she is actually innocent and has no one else to talk to, which results her to flirt with the other men to gain self confidence and attention. This scene shows how desperate she is to talk to someone by describing her actions, 'And her words came tumbled out in a passion of communication... .' John Steinbeck is again condoning Curley's wife by making us feel sympathetic by using strong words like 'passion'. This scene we also find out about the real inner feelings of Curley's wife and her history. We find out about her dreams of becoming a big 'Hollywood star', which was as unlikely to happen as all he other men's dream at the ranch of having their own piece of land.
John Steinbeck is again condoning her at this part making her equal to all the other characters in the novel. This is because John Steinbeck lets us to see her determination, which is as high as the other men. Also like the men, she is very likely to not succeed. The scene continues when Lennie and Curley's wife gets closer, and she lets Lennie to play with her hair to make him feel happy. Lennie starts to enjoy him self and refuses to le go even though how much Curley's wife pleaded him to 'stop' and to not '... mess it up,' Lennie ignore her which sadly leads her to her death caused by Lennie braking her neck when she began to scream.
She began to scream because Lennie refused to stop playing with her hair. Curley's wife '... body flopped like a fish.' In Curley's wife final scene John Steinbeck condones Curley's wife by using descriptive words to compliment her make up '... rouged cheeks and reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly.' He also compliments her hair and clothes 'The curls, tiny little sausages... .' john Steinbeck finally condones Curley's wife by giving descriptions about her dead body which makes her seem like a perfect angel, and an innocent victim which did not need to die 'She was pretty and simple... .' .
To conclude I think that John Steinbeck purposely condones and condemns Curley's wife. I think he does this to show how women were treated at the 1930's. Women were condemned 'You god " damn tramp.' and seen as just something they can use and compliment when men felt like it, and that men never really had any respect for the women close to them. It then shows that women are not appreciated till it is too late. (This is when John Steinbeck starts to condone Curley's wife near to the end of the novel just before she dies. ) No one notices Curley's wife's 'innocent beauty' until she is lying dead on the hay.
I think one of John Steinbeck's aims in writing this novel was to bring to attention how women are treated appallingly at the 1930's, and to show that men will not appreciate their women until they are gone, and they are left with's orrow' for them. I think he also wanted to show how women were only seen as property. He does this by not giving Curley's wife's name, and just refers her as her property owner name 'Curley's wife' (E. g. Curley's house).