In "Of Mice and Men" what is the difference between the way Curley perceives himself and the way Curly's wife sees him?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Curley, the son of the boss at the ranch in "Of Mice and Men," is ready to fight at a moment's notice and is jealous of his wife, for whom he keeps a glove full of Vaseline., thinking himself a virile man. Having almost won a Golden Gloves award, Curley fancies himself a tough guy, but he is actually a coward.  When he confronts Slim about his wife, and Slim becomes angry, Curley says, "

Well, I didn't mean nothing, Slim.  I just ast you....I jus' thought you might of saw her.

When Carlson turns on Curley, Curley tells him to mind his own business or step outside.  But Carlson laughs and calls him a "punk."  He tells Curley,

Slim throwed a scare into ya. You're as yella as a frog's belly.

When Curley turns his rage onto the laughing Lennie, George tells Lennie not to let Curley talk to him in such a way.  Then, Lennie nearly crushes Curley's hand.  It is after this incident, that Curley's wife loses respect for him.  When she comes to the barn where Crooks lives alone, she encounters Candy and Lennie as well, whom she notices has marks on his face.  She tells Lennie,

I'm glad you bust up Curley a little bit.  He got it comin' to him.  Sometimes I'd like to bust him myself.

Curley's wife realizes that Curley is only a bully who commands no respect.  She comes around the men to talk because she is lonely, but she also enjoys taunting Curley.

 

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