While Curley is talked about more than he actually speaks, there is one scene in which he enters the bunk house on the pretense of looking for his wife. This jealous action backfires on him as Slim confronts him: "If you can't look after you own ---wife, what you expect me to do about it? You lay off me." This turning the situation around embarrasses Curley who is attacked verbally by the others. He turns his fear to rage at Lennie when he sees him laughing with the others:
What the hell you laughin' at?....Come on, ya big ba---. Get up on your feet. No big son---is gonna laugh at me. I'll show ya who's yella.
As Curley punches Lennie, terror enters Lennie's face and he stands, hands down. George orders Lennie to "get him" and Lennie grabs Curley's hand, crushing it with his brute strength.
Later on, Curley's wife, who has once before flirtatiously entered the bunk house, finds Lennie petting the puppies of Candy's dog. Impressed by his strength against Curley, she asks if she can talk to him. Lennie tries to rebuff her.
Listen...All the buys got a horseshoe tenement goin' on....None of them guys is goin'to leave that tenement. Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely....What's the matter with me? Ani't I got a right to talk to nobody?...You're a nice guy....I ain't doin' no harm to you.
Then she encourages Lennie to feel her hair that is soft as a puppy's: "Feel right aroun' there an' see how soft it is." Of course, Lennie does so, but too tightly, frightening her. As she struggles, Lennie tries to keep her from screaming and accidentally breaks her neck.