Curley In John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men

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Surly is defined as being “bad-tempered and unfriendly” (Google definition). This is the perfect definition for the curly-haired antagonist of Of Mice and Men. Most will say there is no justification behind Curley's hostility. He is rude to Lennie upon meeting him, is controlling over his wife, he attacks Lennie, does not mourn his wife's death, and arranges for Lennie's murder. There is speculation that Curley is an ill tempered guy and deserves punishment, yet upon further analysis there is some humanity or reasoning behind Curley's actions. Remember, this text is extremely biblical, and as Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Curley has sinned, yes, but he is also a human being with insecurities.…show more content…
Curley constantly thinks his wife is cheating on him, which is another blow to his self-esteem. When Curley is looking for his wife, he notices Slim is missing. He exclaims, “Where the hell's Slim?” (Steinbeck 53). George instructs him to the barn house and Curley takes off in a flash. When Curley's gone George asks, “Thinks Slim's with his wife, don't he?” (Steinbeck 54) Whit responds with, “Looks like it...” (Steinbeck 54). Clearly Curley strongly believes his wife is disloyal to him. Some can argue that Curley takes off in a hurry just to start a fight with Slim. Truthfully, Curley is probably just worried that the one person sheltering his insecurities, will exploit them by cheating. When Slim and Curley re-enter the bunkhouse the guys jump on him. Carlson laughs at Curley and says, “You God damn punk...You tried to throw a scare into Slim, an' you couldn't make it stick....You come for me, an' I'll kick your God damn head off” (Steinbeck 62). This jab at Curley's self-esteem in front of everyone in the bunkhouse, causes him to go after Lennie. Curley walks over to Lennie and asks him why he's smiling. Curley takes this opportunity to show the guys he was just made a fool in front of, that he's not to be laughed at. Curley is only starting a fight with Lennie to prove himself in front of the ranchers. He is not respected by them, and is being harassed by their jeers. To stop the jeers and maybe earn some respect, Curley decides to show that he won't stand for verbal abuse. That's when Curley attacks Lennie. Lennie,being frightened, doesn't defend himself until George eggs him on. Lennie crushes Curley's hand in his fist. “Looks to me like ever' bone in his han' is bust” (Steinbeck 64). Slim states in horror. Curley's crushed hand is like Curley's crushed self-esteem. Curley was made fun of, and then got his hand broken by a much larger guy. These verbal and physical
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