Of Mice and Men

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Curley's Wife Character Analysis

The only female character in the novel, and Curley's wife. The men on the ranch call her a "tart" because she flirts with them. They consider her dangerous because her attention might cause them to get fired, or worse. But beneath her sexy exterior, Curley's wife is deeply lonely, and has dashed dreams of her own.

Curley's Wife Quotes in Of Mice and Men

The Of Mice and Men quotes below are all either spoken by Curley's Wife or refer to Curley's Wife. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Broken Plans Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Of Mice and Men published in 1993.
Part 5 Quotes
Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely.
Related Characters: Curley's Wife (speaker), Lennie Small
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

On a Sunday, Lennie sneaks into the barn to play with the puppies. One tries to bite him and, not knowing his strength as usual, he accidentally kills it. Curley's wife wanders into the barn, and seeing that Lennie is upset, tries to speak with him. Lennie remembers that George told him she was bad news, and tells her he can't speak to her. In this quote, Curley's wife complains that she feels lonely on the ranch. She is the only woman on a farm of many single men, and though she attempts to speak to the ranchers, her overt sexuality makes them uncomfortable--particularly due to the fact that Curley is the boss's son. This quote reveals that her flirtatious demeanor is only due to the fact that she is starved for affection, which she does not receive from Curley. She is drawn to Lennie because of his affability, and is surprised when he, too, shuns her like the other men. Tragically, it is this desperation for friendship that leads to her offering Lennie to touch her hair, and as a result, leads to her death. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Of Mice and Men quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
He pawed up the hay until it partly covered her.
Related Characters: Lennie Small, Curley's Wife
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Curley's wife offers Lennie to touch her hair to feel how soft it is. Enjoying the feeling, Lennie continues to pet her hair even when she yelps for him to stop. Concerned that George will be mad at him, Lennie tells Curley's wife to stop yelling, shaking her to try and make her stop. The shaking breaks her neck, and she dies instantly. In this quote, Lennie realizes that he has done a bad thing--like in Weed, but worse--and hastily attempts to cover up his crime. Due to his disability, Lennie does not understand that partially covering the body in hay not only does not conceal it at all, but actively shows that someone tried to cover it up and was present, revealing the death as a murder. This further shows how Lennie, though physically at fault for the murder, truly does not understand his own strength or the repercussions of his actions. As George repeats to the other men, nothing that Lennie does is ever out of "meanness"--only careless accidents that stem from his mental impairments. 
Get the entire Of Mice and Men LitChart as a printable PDF.
Of mice and men.pdf.medium

Curley's Wife Character Timeline in Of Mice and Men

The timeline below shows where the character Curley's Wife appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Women Theme Icon
Just then, Curley's wife enters. She is very pretty and wears a lot of makeup. While asking where Curly... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Curley enters again, looking for his wife. When he leaves, George says he might end up in a fight with Curley himself.... (full context)
Part 3
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...manager enters with news for Slim. Slim leaves with Crooks, and the men discuss Curley's wife. They agree with George that women don't belong on ranches, and that she'll end up... (full context)
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Lennie and Carlson enter the bunkhouse. Curley enters soon after, again looking for his wife. He suspects she's with Slim in the barn and storms out. The other men follow,... (full context)
Part 4
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Curley's wife walks in and starts mocking the men in the room as the "weak ones" not... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Male Friendship Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Despite the men's demands that she leave, Curley's wife starts talking about how sad she is. She claims she could have been a movie... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...to leave. If she fires them, he says, they'll just buy their own farm. Curley's wife laughs at him. Crooks also demands she leave, but quiets when she curses him and... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...George discovers Lennie was talking about the farm, he gets angry. But Crooks says Curley's wife was right, and that he's no longer interested in going to their farm. (full context)
Part 5
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Curley's wife enters. Lennie tells her he's not allowed to talk to her, but she says no... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Candy enters and finds Curley's wife's body. He runs and gets George, and the two of them realize that Curley will... (full context)
Broken Plans Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...tells Candy to pretend George never saw the body. George leaves. Candy curses at Curley's wife's body. He cries, then goes to alert the men. (full context)