This will be a teeny tiny post but I found this absolutely gorgeous photograph of Rita Hayworth:
As a comparison to Curley’s wife, it bears a range of uses:
- an analysis of her body language exquisitely echoes Curley’s wife’s body language in Chapter 2;
- the sensuality of her half-closed eyes, half open lips is a parallel to Curley’s wife’s sensuality;
- an analysis of small details such as the cigarette can encourage students to identify how the image of class and high society – with hints (more than hints) of phallic symbolism – has become in the twenty-first century perhaps almost taboo – a range of interpretations based on different cultures’ perceptions;
- her dress and heavy make-up bear similarities to Curley’s wife’s red lips, heavily made up face and peacock-feathers all of which suggests a reaching towards sophistication which is artificial and a mask and does not reflect the truly lonely and damaged creature lurking inside Curley’s wife;
- as a H0llywood actress, Hayworth – or actresses like her – would have been the role-model that might have inspired the pre-marital Curley’s wife to dream of being in the “pitchers”;
- the image captures the glamour (in its more faery connotations) and appearance of sophistication propagated by Hollywood which would have appealed because of the extreme poverty and harshness of life on the ranch;
- the girls in my top set went even further comparing the patriarchy of Hollywood and the patriarchy of the farm, suggesting that the sensuality and sexuality of both the image and of Curley’s wife are imposed rather than natural;
- the direction of her gaze through the camera to the viewer was taken to suggest a desperation for attention that echoes Curley’s wife’s need for attention;
- her body position, whilst undoubtedly sensual and sexual, is also artificial and unnatural, suggesting that she and Curley’s wife may both be uncomfortable with the role ascribed to them.
One unexpected side effect: exploring the possibility of the cigarette being a phallic symbol has so appalled everyone in the class that they have declared they will never be able to smoke.
No bad thing!