Key Quote 1
- “rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off."
- Literally it only means that something or someone has blocked the doorway, therefore blocking the light, but figuratively, it foreshadows the dark, forthcoming events in the novel.
- It is not until Curley’s wife appears that Lennie’s fate become inevitable-it her death that causes Lennie’s death-her existence is in a way blocking the sunshine (often associated with happiness and in this context, perhaps a happy future-their American dream.) and bringing darkness into their lives.
- Steinbeck could also be using this darkness to link it to George’s sadness and guilt from killing his best friend.
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Key Quote 2
- “she wore a cotton house dress and red mules on the insteps which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers."
- ‘Red’ is repeated often throughout the text. It has connotations sometimes of love, which suggests that it is what Curley’s wife is looking for.
- However, it is more likely to represent seductiveness; “…so that her body was thrown forward”-implying that she is attempting to attract the other men.
- Also, it is a warning colour, implying danger and that she is bad news-foreshadows events in the novel.
- “cotton house dress” is an example of a clothing which is unsuitable for life on the ranch, contrasting to the men who were “dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons”. ‘Cotton’ is a weaker material and ‘house’ proves that the dress is not suitable for the ranch-she just wants to impress.
- She is attention-seeking, and this can be shown evidence for when she notices Lennie staring at her, attracted-“bridled”. This tells us she is revelling under the rare attention-she doesn’t usually get the attention as the other men know not to encourage her due to her being the boss’s son’s wife.
- ‘Bridled’ also gives the image of a horse, perhaps a show horse, that has been cleaned, groomed and accessorised, like Curley’s wife is. This could also link to the fact that Curley only married her so he could show her off, rather than out of love.
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Key Quote 3
- “She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made-up. Her fingernails were red.” P.34
- “heavily made-up”-her make-up looks completely fake. It could however suggest that she is hiding her true, natural self, which she reveals a bit to Lennie when they are alone.
- Use of the colour red-explained in previous card.
- “She turned to him in scorn. ‘Listen, ******,’ she said. ‘You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?"
- She is putting Crooks in his place as he is of a different race.
- However, Curley’s wife is also oppressed due to her gender-Curley constantly tries to control her; “Well what the hell was she doin’?” Curley says this angrily, which shows his disrespect for her privacy.
- Therefore, his wife tries to take the one chance of superiority she can to her advantage; if she can’t be superior to men, she can be superior to black men.
- This is the first time in the novel that she stops being flirtatious, expressed by ‘scorn’-for once she can control someone’s else’s life and feelings if the ‘open’ their ‘trap’. “I could get you strung up on a tree”.
- She also tries to emphasise what power she has; “she closed up on him”.
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Key Quote 4
- “And the meanness and the planning and the discontent and the ache for attention were gone from her face.” P.129
- ‘ache for attention’-alliteration is used to emphasise this point, reminding the audience that Curley’s wife mainly just really wanted was attention, something that she didn’t receive, even from her own husband.
- This description makes it look as though death has released her and that she is finally free. She had married Curley just so she wasn’t at ‘no place where (she) couldn’t get nowhere or make something of (her)self’, but she never got the escape she was looking for until she died. She’s free of all oppression.
- Steinbeck goes on to describe how she looks ‘very pretty and simple, and her face was sweet and young’, which is completely different to Steinbeck’s previous description of her-this shows sympathetic background.
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