Conversing With Characters, an Interview with Curley’s Wife

Reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck just isn’t the same as listening to an interview from one of the main characters and learning from that. My partner, Claire, and I wrote an interview between Curley’s wife and an agent and recorded two versions of the interview. The first one (above top) is using computerized voices, the second (above bottom) is ourselves, embedded using Bandcamp. Our interview explored the thesis statement of: Through Curley’s wife, Steinbeck depicts the stereotypical and negative views people have on women and their position in life.

The physical characterization of Curley’s wife is shown when the agent is introducing his/herself, ” ‘…full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, make-up, red fingernails. Love the rolled clusters in your hair, by the way. Your red mules with the little bouquets of red ostrich feathers go great with everything’ ” (1). In the fourth response, Curley’s wife also talks about her physical appearance. Her cruel, conceited personality was also shown in that response, ” ‘I might be a bit mean sometimes, but that’s jus’ me getting ahead. I’m prettier and more powerful than any other girl, you jus’ see’ ” (2), as well as in, “I’ve always longed for the spotlight, I’ve always had that “ache for attention’ (88)” (2), among others. What other characters think of her was shown in response to the question, ” ‘But since the public’s opinion is so important for a star, what would you say other people think about you?’ ” (2). 

We showed the historical context of the Great Depression in the first response, ” ‘Then people lost their jobs,  and everyone had ta’ get all the way to California just to find some work. The two of us went ta’ the Golden State too, moved out to Curley’s dad’s farm because he wasn’t making enough money, no one was’ ” (1), and in the last response. The social commentary Steinbeck was making using Curley wife is shown throughout the interview when her responses placed an emphasis on how she looks, and how important that is for a woman. Specifically it is seen in, ” ‘Without my dad, there wasn’t a man in the family take of us — that’s when I had to go in and work,” ‘raised hell in a whorehouse’ ” (113). I only married Curley so he would take care of the bills’ ” (1), and when she says, ” ‘…there’s only men on this farm and they only know me as ‘Curley’s wife’, they don’t treat me good’ ” (2). 

Featured Image: here