Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Stephen Swanson

First Committee Member

Christine Getz

Second Committee Member

William Jones

Third Committee Member

John Muriello

Fourth Committee Member

Bill Theisen

Public Abstract

The interpretation of Curley’s wife as a temptress and seductress in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937) has left scholars and audiences divided. Although her part was expanded in the Broadway play in 1937, there were still questions on her role, even for the actress portraying the part. In the mid-to-late 1960s the novel would be adapted to an opera by Carlisle Floyd, with a less ambiguous interpretation of her character. This study compares characterization of Curley’s wife in the novel with the opera by considering her literary themes within the context of women’s issues that were influential during the conception of both works. Analysis of the music will demonstrate Floyd’s subtle changes to her character, and how it enhances her role as a seductress.




vi, 139 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 131-139).


Copyright 2015 Jacqueline Lang

Included in

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