There are two different visions of women in Of Mice and Men: the male characters' view of women, and the novel's view of women. The men tend to view women with scorn and fear, dismissing women as dangerous sexual temptresses. Women are often referred to as "tarts," a derogatory word for women that means "tramp." Lennie and George have a mutual friend in prison "on account of a tart," and their own troubles result twice from the enticing allure of a woman—the woman in Weed, and Curley's wife. Yet although Curley's wife plays into her role as sexy temptress, Of Mice and Men presents her, at least partly, as a victim. She craves the attention of the men because she's desperately lonely, and flaunts her power over the men because she herself feels weak. Similarly, the novella's portrayal of Aunt Clara as a vision of wholesome femininity from a more innocent age contrasts with the male characters' consistently negative view of women.
The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Women appears in each chapter of Of Mice and Men. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Below you will find the important quotes in Of Mice and Men related to the theme of Women.
Part 5 Quotes
Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.
He pawed up the hay until it partly covered her.
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