Sexism is “prejudice ordiscrimination based on sex; especially: discrimination against women” (“Sexism”). Throughoutthe book Of Mice and Men by JohnSteinbeck, issues surrounding the treatment of women and women’s rights areshown in many ways.
At the farm in California, the majority are males and theminority are females. The character that shows the readers social injustice ofwomen is Curley’s wife. As soon as she was introduced she was being singled outfor her gender and was segregated from the men at the farm.
Curley’s wife hadno freedom, she was treated like an object, and no one gave her any respect or consideration. To begin with, Curley’swife is very lonely, and is isolated from the rest of the world. Curley’s wifestates “‘I get lonely,’ she said. ‘You can talk to people, but I can’t talk tonobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?'” (Steinbeck,87).
This shows that Curley doesn’t allow her to speak to anyone else on thefarm, she is secluded and very friendless. Along with not being able to talk toanyone else on the farm besides her husband, Curley’s wife is also stuck in thehouse all the time. I know this because when the rest of the men are gone, Curley’swife expresses to Candy, Crooks and Lennie, “‘Well, I ain’t giving you notrouble.
Think I don’t like to talk to somebody ever’ once in a while? Think Ilike to stick in that house alla time?'” (Steinbeck,77). The impression that isgiven here is that Curley demands his wife to not talk to anyone and to stay inthe house to prevent her from causing any problems. The men on the farmcontinuously call her trouble, so to stop anything bad from happening, Curley’swife is expected to stay in the house away from the other men. John Steinbecknever gives his readers Curley’s wife’s name, she is always referred to as hiswife, or trouble, as well as many other things. When she is first mentioned sheis introduced as Curley’s wife but her name is never revealed.
“He felt safenow, and he spoke more confidently. ‘Wait’ll you see Curley’s wife'” (Steinbeck,28). Further down the page, she is then called a tart. “The swamper stood upfrom is box. ‘Know what I think?’ George did not answer. ‘Well, I thinkCurley’s married… a tart'” (Steinbeck,28).
This shows that Curley’s wife isbeing objectified. Steinbeck didn’t see it necessary to give Curley’s wife aname because of how common and intense discrimination was against women. Curley’swife did not have a name so she wasn’t seen important to the men on the farm.At one time, she had a name but that ‘privilege’ was taken away from her whenshe married Curley. The amount ofrespect Curley’s wife is given on the farm is horrific, she is talked about byall the men and called terrible names.
While Curley’s wife is looking for herhusband, all the men are talking to her and Lennie is fascinated by her. After sheleaves George calls her a tramp and Lennie tries to defend her by called herpretty, George immediately warns Lennie about Curley’s wife. “George lookedquickly down at him and then he took him by an ear and shook him.
‘Listen tome, you crazy bastard,’ he said fiercely. ‘Don’t you even take a look at thatbitch. I don’t care what she says and what she does…'” (Steinbeck, 32). The waythat George talks to Lennie about Curley’s wife, and demands him to never talkto her shows how rude the men are to her. The men are very impolite to her and showno courtesy towards her, they continuously make fun of her and talk bad abouther. Curley’s wife is also veryunderestimated, the men doesn’t think is very smart and that she won’t figureanything out. “Lennie looked to Candy for help, and then he looked at his lapagain. ‘He got his han’ caught in a machine,’ he said” (Steinbeck,80).
This showsthat Candy and the rest of the men do not think that Curley’s wife will everfigure out what happened, but she knows as soon as she hears about it. Curley’swife is also very underrated because the men think she is only capable of flirtingwith men and getting in their way. To conclude, theamount of discrimination and prejudice in the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeckis unreal. Not only was Curley’s wife treated unfairly, ordered around and objectified,she was also searching for a friend.
There were several characters who experiencedsimilar issues throughout the book. Most of the book was focused on who wasdifferent was singled out those who weren’t the same as the rest of the peopleon the farm. All the characters in this book were isolated and were very lonelyat times. Steinbeck wanted to teach his readers about human existence and thebrutal ways others are treated for being different. Friendless and unhappy ishow most characters felt in this book, they are very helpless and don’t knowwhat to do. Crooks believes that life isno goof without a companion to turn to in times of confusion and need.
Althoughthese characters seem very strong and secure in their lives, they are actuallyvery weak. They are powerless and have little control over their lives.