One interpretation of her in Steinbeck's novel of the alienated and displaced man is that she is an Eve, a temptress, who disrupts the important fraternity of men, and is, therefore, unworthy of any sympathy. In Chapter 2, when George notices her standing in the doorway of the bunkhouse she has "rouged lips" with red fingernails and red shoes with "red ostrich feathers." She leans against the doorway "so that her body was thrown forward" and smiles "archly and twitched her body." Her pretext of looking for Curley is false; Slim tells her that he has seen her husband going toward their house. After she leaves, Lennie remarks, "She's purty," and George scolds,
"Listen to me,....Don't you even take a look at that bitch. I don't care what she says and what she does. I seen 'em poison before, but I never see not piece of jail bait worse than her. You leave her be."
That Curley's wife does not love her husband and is merely concerned with her own pleasure and welfare is revealed in her conversation with Lennie in Chapter 5 in which she reveals that she married Curley to get away from the little town in which she lived:
Well, I wasn't gonna stay no place where I couldn't get nowhere or make something of myself, an' where they stole your letters....So I married Curley. Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace that same night....Well, I ain't told this to nobody before...I don' like Curley...
So, Curley's wife deserves little sympathy, although her death is tragic. For, in Steinbeck's naturalistic world, the indifference of the universe is evident, just as it is in Robert Burns's poem from which the novella's title comes. The best laid plans of Curley's wife and those of George and Lennie all go askew
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
For promised joy.