To celebrate the release of our new QuickLits Guide to Of Mice and Men, this week’s Quote of the Week is taken from that very novel and focuses on one of the most controversial characters, Curley’s Wife:

“She had full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red.”

To help us better understand this quote, let’s put it into some context. Firstly, we know that it comes from Chapter Two and, secondly, it provides the reader with an introduction to Curley’s Wife.

Now we’ve got the context, let’s look more closely at Steinbeck’s words. First of all, what’s really striking about this quote is the way that Curley’s Wife appears. Considering she lives on a ranch, we would expect Curley’s Wife to wear more modest, practical clothes, but we actually find the very opposite: she is wandering around looking more like a Hollywood film star than someone who lives on a hot, dusty ranch in California.

What does this tell us about Curley’s Wife?

Well, for a start, it suggests that she is very concerned about her appearance – maybe even to the point of vanity. But what’s really important is the fact that everything she is wearing is RED. Red fingernails, red cheeks, red lips. Why is red important? Because red is colour that is associated with love, sexuality and DANGER. Steinbeck is literally waving a red flag in front of her, warning George and Lennie (and the reader) that Curley’s Wife poses danger.

Curley's_Wife.jpg

Why would Steinbeck link Curley’s Wife to danger?

Well, take a look at the events of Chapter Five. In this chapter, Lennie accidentally kills her. By doing thus, Lennie doesn’t only put his own life in danger, he also shatters the dream of ever owning a ranch with George. Steinbeck is, therefore, foreshadowing these dangers by associating Curley’s Wife with the colour red (and danger).

Clever, eh?

Like this post? For more Quotes of the Week, take a look here:

For more in-depth Of Mice and Men quotes, please check out our study guide here.

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Week: “She Had Full Rouged Lips.”

Posted in Macbeth, Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week: “I am settled, and bend up/ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”

This week’s quote of the week comes from Act I, Scene VII of Macbeth.

I am settled, and bend up

Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”

To help us better understand this quote, let’s first put it into some context. In this scene of the play, we find Macbeth and Lay Macbeth discussing the murder of King Duncan. Specifically, Lady Macbeth is trying to reassure Macbeth that nobody will suspect them of the murder.

Now we’ve got the context, let’s look more closely at Macbeth’s words. When he talks about being “settled,” for instance, he means that he has come to a decision, like when your mind is settled on doing something particular. So we see that Macbeth has decided that he will go ahead with the murder.

As for the second part of this quote, it’s a little bit trickier because of the language used. The “corporal agent,” for example, refers to the muscles of the body. (Note: “corporal” comes from the Latin word corpus which means “body”).

And what about “terrible feat?” What could Macbeth be referring to? That’s right, he’s talking about the murder of Duncan. By using the word “terrible,” Macbeth shows us that he knows that committing murder is wrong – why else would he call it a “terrible feat?” The problem is that Macbeth is so ambitious that he cannot walk away from the chance of being king.

If we put these ideas together, Macbeth is basically saying that he has decided to kill Duncan and, more importantly, he will use every muscle in his body to ensure that the murder takes place.

This quote, therefore, not only provides strong evidence of Macbeth’s ambition but also of his determination to be king.

 

Like this post? For more Quotes of the Week, take a look here:

For more in-depth Macbeth quotes, please check out our study guide here.

 

Posted in Macbeth, Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week: “Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair.”

This week’s Quote of the Week is another famous one from Macbeth. Spoken by the witches in Act I, Scene I, this quote can be tricky to analyse but QuickLits is about to show you just how easy it is …

“Fair is foul and foul is fair.”

First impressions of this quote is that it doesn’t make any sense. How can something be both fair (nice and pleasant) and foul (nasty)? It can’t … or can it?

This quote is an example of a paradox because, at first glance, it doesn’t make any sense. However, if we look a little deeper, there is some truth in there (as in all paradoxes).

So what’s the truth?

Well, sometimes, we do encounter things that look really nice but are, in fact, quite nasty. Take a lovely-looking dog, for example. It might have a cute face but a pretty nasty temper. Just because something looks good, it doesn’t mean it is good!

How does this relate to Macbeth? The point is, Shakespeare is giving the reader a warning. He’s saying that we should not accept anything at face value in this story because although it might look nice, it’s actually hiding something far more sinister. He is, therefore, introducing the theme of false appearances. But what’s he also doing, rather subtly,  is using the witches to foreshadow the murder of King Duncan later on. Clever, eh?

 

Like this post? Want more Macbeth quotes and analysis? Check out our study guide here.

 

Posted in Macbeth, Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week: “Look Like Th’ Innocent Flower, But Be The Serpent Under ‘T”

This quote is one of most memorable from Macbeth (and it’s one of QuickLits’ personal favourites). It’s often used as evidence of Lady Macbeth’s ambitious, evil nature and comes from Act I, Scene V.

Let’s take a look at it in full:

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men

May read strange matters.

To beguile the time,

Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,

Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower,

But be the serpent under ’t.”

To put this quote into context, Lady Macbeth is telling Macbeth that in order to not be suspected of murdering King Duncan, he must make sure that he acts in a very specific way.

First up, Macbeth needs to remember that his face is capable of revealing his innermost and darkest intentions. To show this, she uses a metaphor, comparing Macbeth’s face to a book. In order for Macbeth’s murderous plans to not be detected, he must act in a pleasant, kind and welcoming way to everyone, including King Duncan.

Secondly, to really hammer this point home, Lady Macbeth talks about acting like a flower but really behaving like the serpent/snake underneath it, and this is where things get really interesting. When we think about a flower – about the connotation – we think of some nice, something pleasant to look at. This reinforces Lady Macbeth’s point about Macbeth treating his guests warmly and with kindness.

However, when we think of a serpent or a snake, something far more sinister comes to mind. Think about the serpent in the Bible, for example, the snake which tempted Eve to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden. So this section of the quote is actually an allusion to that famous Biblical story, reinforcing the idea of Macbeth’s sinister intentions.

 

The-serpent-with-Eve

 

So that’s this week’s Quote of the Week. We hope you enjoyed it.

For more Macbeth quotes and analysis, check out our study guide here.