John Steinbeck illustrates his lone female character, Curlers wife to be an isolated trophy wife, on a ranch, surrounded by restrictions and constraints, with no place in Steinbeck world Of masculine friendships as women in the Early 20th century, would only fall into three categories, wife, mother and prostitutes and no independent women could be found. Being a microcosm of women in America’s male-dominated society, where there was gender equality, as well as minimal rights for women, she had married for security, stability and protection; not out of love, common arrangement in the sass.
Curlers wife is illustrated to be a possession of her husband, to the extent that she is referred to as his wife; not her own name. As well as the fact that Curler The Italian Renaissance is a period of great cultural change and achievement In Italy form the 14th – 1 6th century, making the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe, especially in its art and literature. Yet in this period of change, women were deemed to be the weaker sex in the terms of physical strength and endurance.
One of Browsing most notable works is ‘My Last Duchess, which s a dramatic monologue formed by 28 rhyming couplets, based on the wife of Italian Duke Alfonse II of Ferreira, Lucrative of the Medics, who died in 1561 of suspicious circumstances. The Medics ere a powerful family from Florence and Lucrative was married off at the age of 14, to the 25 year old Duke as arranged marriages were almost always taken place in the teens for females. If a woman did not marry by the age of approximately 25, they would be shunned form society as they would have assumed the role of a spinster.
Divorces were would only occur if the husband wished it as a divorcing her husband was unheard of. This is because it was a popular assumption that women were weak and submissive and therefore would require constant care and guidance and therefore they were dominated by men. And, My Last Duchess conveys this as it illustrates how women were supposedly meek and as housewives, were meant to be domesticated. This remained almost unchanged in 1 9th Century Victorian England, when Browning wrote the poem, as women were conceived to be property and their sole purpose was to marry and reproduce.
Women were stuck as they could not divorce their husbands until 1891. In Italy, regardless of status and position in society, omen were forbidden from education and the ability to vote or receive any form of inheritance from their father, as money, property and titles would be passed down to the closest living male heir. In England, women had to obey men as men had all of the money, women also received less education as there were no universities present for women to attend.
Childbirth was a necessity and sex was viewed to be common, as mistresses and prostitutes were frequently found. 80th pieces of literature are written from a male perspective and show their respective female character to be victims of the cruel, harsh world that they had resided in. The two were naive, gullible and hopeless as they show an immense amount of vulnerability in the world, which ultimately led to their own deaths. Curlers wife’s hopes and dreams of ever becoming an actress had been shattered and therefore had unwillingly married Curler.
Whereas, the Last Duchess had been sold by her family to her husband, when she was too young to understand, and had not yet fully grasped the role of the Duchess that she had stepped into, which is shown in her actions. The women had no power as they were ruled by the men in their lives; their husbands, who viewed them to be trophy wives and to be easily applicable. Both Curlers wife and the Duchess are never referred to by their own names. All throughout Of Mice and Men, the reader has never been made privy to what Curlers wife actual name is.
This was a common occurrence during the sass as women were continuously referred to as the possession oftener husbands, rather than being herself as first and foremost, she was a wife. Even before an introduction is made to Cur lees wife, she is illustrated to be the loneliest and most isolated character on the ranch as all throughout the novella, particularly in Chapter Two, she is referred to in a regulatory manner as her actions and clothing are somewhat promiscuous and flirtatious.
Candy introduces her to have ‘the eye’ and George misunderstands the truth to be the fact that she is an attention-seeker, looking to pursue a sexual matter. Candy also blames her when he states that ‘l think Curlers married… A tart’. By calling her a ‘tart’, he is implying the fact that it is all her fault that she seeks attention from other men, but he doesn’t take into account that it may as well be Curler’s fault. Curler does not provide his wife enough attention as to him all she was, was a trophy to behold, in order to prove himself to be greater than any other man on the ranch and therefore, she must seek companionship elsewhere.
By calling her ‘pitch’, Candy once again portrays Cur levels wife to be controlled by her husband, as becoming a female dog she is in possession of her master. Similarly, in My Last Duchess, the name of the duchess is only certified by history, as in reality the Duke was married to Lucrative, yet in the poem, the name is never mentioned. The personal pronoun ‘My’ emphasis that the relationship was on the Duke’s terms as she is ‘his’, being objectified, just like Curlers wife.
Although this may only be the social convention, it can also be read as affection yet this is contradicted by the poem’s final implications of her being killed as though he was finally rid of an unwanted possession. ‘Last’ denotes the previous holder of the title, as well as connoting the anticipation of the next duchess who, like the previous, can easily be silenced by his power. It can also mean that Lucrative was not his first wife as he has had previous duchesses and she was only his most recent endeavourer.
Her portrait is also covered by a ‘curtain’ and this provides to be a source of great control for him s even though the Duchess has passed away, he has power over who was able to admire her beauty, be it his attempts in real life or the portrait, after her demise. A man would have to ‘durst’ in order to be able to view it against his wishes, yet nobody would challenge a Duke and therefore, it allowed him full command over his wife, as it had not been possible, in his eyes, when she was alive.
The Duke had objectified his wife and claimed her as his possession, as that was what was considered to be the norm, akin to how Curler’s wife was owned by her husband. When Curlers wife is introduced eater on in Chapter 2, she had attempted to dress in a seductive manner as she was ‘heavily made up’. From Candy/s description of her being a ‘floozy’ and a ‘rattrap’, Curlers wife’s appearance automatically Causes the reader to assume that Candy’s words had been true.
This is a result of the fact that during the early 20th Century, women were perceived to either be married or a prostitute, as out of desperation, they would be forced to turn to the sex industry for survival. Women would have been viewed as the inferior sex, as a result of the repulsion that some who were prostitutes, would have caused. Yet the reader can also deduce that Curlers wife may have dressing in that manner, in order to fill in the gap left by her washed away American Dream, and re-establish her self confidence.
The American Dream had become a fantasy for most and particularly for women as they were seldom offered the chance to dream. By becoming an actress, Curler’s wife would have found her ticket out of being bound to her husband and having to lose her whole personality as a result of becoming a wife; a fate worse than death. The ostentatious clothes and make up also allowed her to relive her shattered Laos and live in a fantasy that allowed her to escape the harsh reality that she was trapped in.
Not unlike Curler’s wife, the Duchess had also been perceived to have a bit of a wandering eye as ‘twats not Her husband’s presence only, that called that spot of joy into the Duchess’s cheeks’. Her own husband had thought of her to have stooped so low, that she was openly flirting with other men, despite being married to one of the most powerful men in the city. However, the fact that she blushed at all, was an indication that she was not happy at all as she had to look elsewhere, bar her husband, to find the love and nurture that she craved.
Being married at the age of 14, the Duchess would have still been, practically a child and therefore could have been so naive that she did not have known what the actions she thought to be innocent actions were doing to her husband. ‘Presence’ also shows the power and arrogance that the duke held, as him merely standing there should have caused her to blush, as being her husband, the only person that had any right on his wife’s expressions was him. Her representation of women without a voice in the sass is enhanced by the fact that she is continuously oppressed and neglected by the men she is surrounded by.
When she is able to talk, she has to be ‘apprehensive’ of her whereabouts and who is watching her as if she gets caught, there will be trouble awaiting her. By the use of ‘apprehensive’ Steinbeck portrays her wariness to be to the extent that it frightened her to be seen, speaking to the men on the ranch as it is implied in the novella that she is forbidden to do so. Curlers wife may be apprehensive of her husband approaching, due to the fact that she would be put down by him as she is a woman and he, being a man had full rights, in those times to discipline his wife, how he seemed fit.