Curley’s wife if also newly arrived at the ranch. She’s only been married to Curley for a few weeks and we know that she married out of haste to punish her mother. She already feels unhappy and isolated in her new position as “Curleys’ Wife”. The reader is left with a complicated picture of a sad and silly young woman. Curley’s Wife has a great impact on the storyline and the characters. She is essential to the story’s plot and themes. She is important to the story because she is the direct cause of Lennie’s death.
She is in the barn talking to Lennie and shows herself as trusting and tells Lennie about her dream to “be in the movie’s”. However, she misunderstands Lennie, and misjudges his strength, she tells him to “feel right here,” and he places his hand on her head, and inevitably causes her own death. Her lack of intelligence is the cause of this. She isn’t bright, and just wants male attention to confirm her good looks. All of the males on the ranch see her as a “looloo” but view her behaviour as that of a “tart”. This damages Curley’s ego, as she is his wife.
She is deemed as his property, and no one but Curley is allowed to lay a finger on her. Therefore, if she were to behave more appropriately, then Curley would also perhaps have been less possessive of her and less belligerent in his behaviour. Curley’s wife is also involved in the themes of the story and represents some key ideas in the novel. Being the only female on the ranch, she represents loneliness and isolation in a male world, yet the abused is also an abuser. When in Crooks’ room, she shows many different sides of her personality.
She tries to talk to Crooks, Candy and Lennie, but they refuse and tell her they, “don’t want no trouble. ” Curley’s wife tells them that she “gets lonely,” which is just what Lennie (being mentally handicapped), Candy (being old and disabled), and Crooks (being coloured and disabled), all experience as well. She then explodes with rage, saying how Curley is always talking about beating up men on the ranch, and asks how Lennie bust up his hand. When the three men don’t say anything to her she gets angry and calls them “bindle bums” because she is frustrated that no one will talk to her.
She then feels disappointed and finding herself telling the men about her dream of being a movie star, she says, “What am I doin’? Standing here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs! ” She is angry with her mother too for ruining her dream, or so she believes she did. Candy then stands up to her, but she retaliates by laughing at him, and says “baloney! ” Candy also treats her like a child by telling her to “go and roll your hoop. ” Her behaviour fluctuates between the childish, the mean and the pathetic.
Curleys wife then turns sympathetic towards Lennie, and flirts with him by saying, “I like machine’s! ” and “I might get a coupla rabbits myself. ” This is a silly thing to do as she doesn’t realize Lennie is mentally handicapped and could (and does) get herself into trouble. Crooks stands up to her telling her, “she has no rights comin’ into a coloured man’s room. ” This is when she turns on him. She realizes that because he is in the minority and black she can use being the only female as an advantage. She becomes extremely nasty and calls him a “Nigger.
” Aggressively, she tells him she can get him “strung upon a tree so easy. ” She can just cry rape, and get men shot – and she knows this. Like many of the characters, she also has a dream, but tragically it gets taken away from her. She has a dream of being in the movies, and has convinced herself that she has the potential, even though the only chance she had was when she met a man in a bar who told her she was pretty enough to be in the movies. Of course she was flattered by this and probably ended up sleeping with him.