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A novella about the alienated and dispossessed, Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men presents Curley as a foil to other characters. For he is representative of the aggressiveness that arises from weakness. Insecure about his height--he wears boots with heals--and insecure about his masculinity--he searches always for his wife whereabouts, Curley seeks to assert his manliness by fighting. However, his victims are always those who are more vulnerable in some way than he, such as Lennie. As old Candy tells George,
"...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?"
This flat character is in sharp contrast to Slim and George who yet retain fraternal feelings for other men. Because they have a fellowship in the desperate times in which they live, they do not feel the need to be aggressive out of any weakness. For, when Lennie dies, Slim consoles George, telling him "You hadda, George. I swear you hadda," while Curley, on the other hand, organizes the posse to find Lennie in the desire and hope of killing him.
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