What with the awful working conditions and low

What does it mean to be a woman? This answer varies from person to person, to what age the person you’re asking is, and most importantly what era of time your talking about. The 1930’s was a period of time where woman grew together as a community and stood up for their rights. In the story Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, the role of women in the 1930’s is typically characterized by their career, by the role they play in the family, and their social obligations. They fought for jobs, rights, and simply respect. In Steinbeck’s book, a young lady who we only know as Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch that her husband lives and works on. She simply is just fighting for respect and needs someone to talk too, but when she tries to talk to the other workers they think she is flirting with them and they say she has “an eye” for all the men on the ranch. Throughout the book we see how women actually lived during this period of time, and Steinbeck uses Curley’s wife as a representation of it. Steinbeck shows her as an object and not as a person, this is a valid image of what women were thought of in the 1930’s. Women fought for their careers, their place in their family, and how they were seen or thought of in public; but men never fought for anything. Women of the 1930’s had very little job opportunities and awful working conditions. They worked in factories, in sales, and being a teacher or nurse. Women mostly worked long hours for very low wages. They also entered work at twice the rate as men because employers would hire women for reduce wages. Women would work up to 50 hours a week a get paid half of what a man would make doing only 30 hours a week. Being that the wages were so low, many women could not afford basic expenses. Along with the awful working conditions and low wages, women often received criticism and social hate. This is because men believed that women were taking jobs away from them.  Most of the hate and criticism went towards women who were married and worked. Many people protested that a married woman’s place is at the home to take care of the house and children.              Curley’s wife did not have a job and was bored all the time. She most likely did not work because people would harass her and mock her that she was a women who worked. What woman wants that? Also being that she was married she is supposed to stay home and take care of the house and do all of the house work; but she never really did that. In the book Curley often tells her to go back to the house and get out of places that will cause her trouble. These moments in the book foreshadow the events that were happening in real time. Curley’s wife is a character that feels trapped and maybe even lost, and this the feeling of most women during the 1930’s. During the Great Depression everyone was affected; women, children, and men. Yet, women were still expected to somehow keep the family running smoothly, find a job, make dinner, find activities for the kids, and overall just rub the house. Men were never put under this pressure, they were just expected to work. Women had to become extremely resourceful and take on many jobs in and out of the house. After a long day of work women were still expected to come home and take care of the family. Also women always had to look “presentable” for their husbands. Women had more responsibility than men ever had. Curley’s wife in the story never had a job. This could be because Curley and her did not have children; therefore Curley’s job was more than enough to provide for them. Even though she did not have a job, Curley’s wife still felt the pressure to be the “perfect wife”. She still felt that she had to make dinner, and clean the house, and Curley even sometimes forces her to just go back to the house to keep her out of trouble. Curley doing this foreshadows the idea that all the farmers think his wife is a “flirt” and doesn’t fit the social norms.Many women had social obligations at their church, maybe in their community, and especially at their homes. Women were thought to only speak when spoken too. Men thought that only their opinions mattered and the women’s didn’t. That is what made working so hard for women because they were never taken seriously. Curley’s wife can totally relate to this. She was lonely and wanted to talk to people, and being that she was the only female on the ranch she could only talk to the other farmers. But when she did they always assumed she was flirting and being unfaithful to her husband. Steinbeck does a very good job at creating a strong visual that women were seen as less than the man. Steinbeck never gives Curley’s wife a name. She is only known as Curley’s wife, it sounds like he owns her. Which in reality that’s what the men thought, that they owned the women and that women needed them to survive. When Curley’s wife tried to be independent, he would yell at her and give her instructions on where to go and what to do. As Eleanor Roosevelt said ” The women know that life must go on and that the needs of the life must be met and it is their courage and determination which, time and again, have put us through worse crisis is then the present one. ” What does it mean to be a woman? It means to be someone who is simply strong and independent. John Steinbeck represents the role of a women by their career, their role in the family, and their own social obligations. In his story he uses many examples and scenarios to really explain his own thoughts. Women have come such a long way from the 1930s and are only going to continue to grow as a community. They are now more independent and able to live without the support of a man or even anyone else. The character, Curley’s wife, was an abstract representation of what a real women of the 1930s went through. Women still suffer through hardships that men will never go through. But at the end of the day without women no of us would be here living the life we are now!