How does Stienbeck explore different attitudes to women in the novel?

Topics: Prostitution, Great Depression, 1930s Pages: 4 (1500 words) Published: March 16, 2014
How does Stienbeck explore different attitudes to women in the novel? ‘Of-Mice-and-Men’ was written by Steinbeck in the 1930’s towards the end of the depression where millions of people were financially ruined and had lost everything. This crisis was added to by a series of droughts which caused crops to fail and lots of farmers were unable to cover bank loans used to buy their farms and had to sell up to cover debts. One third of America's population were unemployed and there was then no dole to fall back on. Many men packed up, leaving their families behind and headed off to find work and an income to send back to the families. This means that women at this point in time were not valued because they were not considered as physically strong as men and not given the labouring jobs, where in fact many women were unable to work because of commitments to family or the few jobs available to women were very menial and low paid and were the first to disappear. During the depression, those who could work were viewed and given a greater respect and emphasis was therefore on the men. This view of women and their lack of importance are highlighted in this story by the fact that the story depicts very few women characters, there are only three different roles in the book: A wife/ Aunt, an actress or a prostitute. The main female Character ‘Curley’s Wife’ is not even given a name although she is key to the story itself “Tart….Curley’s wife”. I believe that by not giving her a name Steinbeck is trying to show the lack of rights that women possessed during the 1930s, and it shows that women were considered the soul possession of men. This makes the reader show empathy for her as she had little rights and had no choice but to marry to change her circumstances as women were not as socially accepted in 1930s as they are now. Even when we hear about George’s dream to have a place of his own with Lennie and live of the land, which is the dream that has kept him and Lennie...
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