Tusitala Book Surgery : Ask The Doctor!

If you have a burning question about your English Studies – perhaps about a book or a poem, or if you are experiencing difficulty in getting started on a course work or essay please fill in the form below and get a FREE response from Tusitala. JUST ASK!

For example if you wanted to ASK a question about Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men?

Why does Steinbeck need to describe Curley’s wife in the following way after she has been slaughtered by Lenny: ‘Now her rouged cheeks and reddened lips made her seem alive and sleeping very lightly.’

Curley’s wife has been accidentally killed by Lenny previous to this description and the language used to represent her sudden death communicates her terror and desperate fight for life: ‘she writhed to be free…’

The reader identifies here with Curley’s wife as her predicament could be our own and reflects perhaps our private fears of vulnerability in the face of out of control male violence. Lenny is dangerously out of control and in order to make the final scene between him and George redemptive and transcendent, Steinbeck has to reframe our last glimpse of Curley’s wife so she appears reconciled and at peace.

Hence she becomes a fairy tale figure, a sleeping Beauty who is only awaiting a healing kiss from some passing Prince. This cleanses the rather sordid details surrounding Curley’s wife’s death, and replaces them with a new reading which erases the reader’s disquiet at her premature death. Hence we can respect the tenderness of George’s ‘execution’ of Lenny and accept the pathos of Lenny dying whilst visualising his dream of paradise.


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