Of Mice and Men is a novel which tells the story of two friends traveling together and working on a ranch in Depression-era California. This story is filled with memorable characters, one of which being Curley’s wife. Curley is the ranch owner’s son. He and his wife got married at a young age, but her original plan was not to marry Curley. In this novel, she is illustrated as a ‘tart’.
Curley’s wife is perhaps the least mentioned and regarded as a minor character but she is perhaps the most essential in the message of attachment. All she has is Curley, whose abusive nature is causing her to despise him more and more every day. She craves talking to others and forming an attachment to the boys on the farm (39). This causes her to try and make conversation with everyone around her. "Nobody can't blame a person for lookin', (40)", She says this as she reached a point where all she wants people to acknowledge her.
She never gets a letter from the guy in the shows so she ends up marrying Curley; “I couldn’t get nowhere or make nothin of myself… so I married Curley” (Steinbeck 88). This point in her life is when she realizes that she no longer has a chance to live the American Dream. Curley’s wife goes from almost being in the shows to being a woman that doesn’t even have her own name. All of the guys at the ranch refer to her as Curley’s wife. This is like saying that she is not human, but rather somebody’s object.
Curley’s wife has always been taught to sell her-self, whether it was to a road show or into the hands of a husband. Richard Hart recognizes that Curley’s wife is more like a store bought good, rather than an actual wife and writes, “Curley’s wife views herself as a commodity, and an object of sensuality” (36). Curley’s wife’s dream was to be an actress on a traveling road show, but she is too ignorant to realize that that dream is long gone and selling herself is not in the least bit attractive or becoming of a young woman. Stein-beck characterizes the men on the ranch as male chauvinists who cannot fathom a woman ever being half as important as themselves. “Curley’s wife stands as a glaringly bitter and ironic illus-tration of the immorality of narrow minds and the social conditions that produce them” (Hart 39).
An example of this is Curley and his wife’s relationship. From the moment Curley’s wife was introduced, the reader got an idea about their poor relationship. Her bad relationship with Curley is shown when she says, “I don’t like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella” (Steinbeck 89). The reader learns that she only married Curley out of spite toward her mother, and they truly do not love each other.
Candy first talked about Lennie when he killed Curley's wife. ¨He is such a nice fella. I did not think he'd do nothing like this¨ (95). Handicapped or not, people never expected Lennie to kill anyone. Candy also indirectly talked about Lennie when Candy stayed with Curley's wife after she died.
For instance, the men on the ranch speculate that Curley’s wife intends trouble and an affair because she is constantly looking for the men on the ranch in the bunkhouse or stable, places she has no business in without her husband. However, Curley’s wife confesses her everyday life when she tells Crooks, Old Candy, and Lennie that she enjoys talking to them rather than talking to nobody (Steinbeck 78). In addition, she discloses to them that Curley gives her little regard and that she loathes staying in their small house all the time. As a result of the lack of attention she receives, she utilises her young and seducing looks to obtain it from any body. Steinbeck writes Curley’s wife as isolated like the lonely ranch men that come and go which appeals to the readers’ feelings.