Much about the character of Curley and his wife is learned in the second chapter as George and Lennie adjust to their new surroundings and the people who live on the ranch.
Candy makes this assessment of Curley:
Well . . . tell you what. Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. He's alla time picking scraps with big guys. Kind of like he's mad at 'em because he ain't a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain't you? Always scrappy?
Curley is therefore depicted as a small guy with something to prove. He walks around looking for ways to exert his masculinity, and Lennie proves a likely target for his constant anger.
It's also clear that his new wife isn't helping the situation:
He got married a couple of weeks ago. Wife lives over in the boss’s house. Seems like Curley is cockier’n ever since he got married.
This establishes some early conflict between Curley and his wife; a newlywed man should be floating through life on the happiness of early marital bliss. The fact that...
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