Curley, the son of the ranch’s boss, is a mean and power-hungry individual obsessed with securing the respect and submission of the individuals beneath him. Short in stature, nervous, and yet obsessed with proving his strength and masculinity, Curley is constantly being undermined by his flirtatious wife even as he tries harder and harder over the course of the novel to make himself seem socially and sexually dominant. The laborers on the ranch don’t respect Curley at all, and go so far as to call him a “yella” coward to his face. Still, they’re forced to support Curley in his struggles against Lennie, and follow Curley when he plans to retaliate against Lennie for killing his wife— even though he knows, on some level, that Lennie did not kill her out of any ill intent, but rather by accident.
Curley Character Timeline in Of Mice and Men
The timeline below shows where the character Curley appears in Of Mice and Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...and George promises he will. After Candy leaves, George warns Lennie to be careful around Curley—if Curley and Lennie “tangle,” Lennie and George will both get the boot. Lennie insists he... (full context)
...Her hair is curled and her fingernails are painted red. She says she’s looking for Curley—George demurely tells her without looking directly at her that Curley just left the bunk house... (full context)
...bunk house as George confides in Lennie that he himself is worried about “tangl[ing]” with Curley someday. Candy’s dog remains in the bunk house alone, raising its head for a moment... (full context)
...into the bunk house together. Lennie gets into bed, and Carlson begins cleaning his pistol. Curley bursts in, asking for his wife. Whit says she hasn’t come by. Curley looks around... (full context)
...know about the dead puppy, Lennie reasons, he won’t stop Lennie from tending the rabbits. Curley’s wife asks Lennie why he’s so obsessed with rabbits, and Lennie replies that he likes... (full context)