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Character profile- Curley's Wife
Curley's wife is the only woman we actually encounter in the book. In some ways she
seems bold and confident but in other ways she very fragile. One thing's for sure- she's
The men have lots to say about Curley's Wife
All the men (apart from Slim) are wary of Curley's wife because she's so flirty. They
know that if they flirt back there'll be dangerous consequences- Curley's bound to
want to fight and they'll probably lose their jobs since he's the boss's son.
Despite the fact the men aren't nice to her, she doesn't seem to leave them
alone- she bursts into the bunk house all the time.
The men call her "jail bait" and a "rattrap". This turns out, to some extent, to be
true- Lennie is lured by her to his (and her) death.
Curley's Wife is...
o Pretty: "She's purty"
o Lonely: "I get awful lonely"
o Flirtatious: "She got the eye goin' all the time on everybody."
She's very attractive
She's "purty". She wears a lot of make-up and I proud of her hair- she uses her looks
to get attention.
Lennie is dazzled by her glamour and beauty. She is yet another soft thing that he
wants to touch.
She wears a lot of red- her lips are "rouged" and her fingernails and shoes are red.
This links her to the girl in Weed with the red dress- it's a hint that Lennie will hurt
Curley's wife too.
Steinbeck uses similar language to describe Curley's wife before and after her
death. Her curls are like "sausages", her face is "rouged" and her lips are "parted".
But after she's died, she's also "pretty and simple" and 2sweet and young".
Steinbeck is showing that her hard life made mean, but after death she's
She isn't happy on the ranch
Curley's wife is very lonely. She's the only woman on the ranch, the men don't want
to talk to her and Curley doesn't spend any time with her
She wants some companionship- "Think I don't like to talk to somebody ever' once
in a while?" When she pretends to be looking for Curley she's really looking for
attention from the men.
She's quite cunning- she's aware of the power she has over Crooks and Candy,
even though she's only be on the ranch for two weeks. She's not afraid to use it
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Curley's wife dreamt of being a movie star, but she never made it to Hollywood.
She escaped from the control of her mother but ended up being controlled by her
husband instead.…read more