How does Curley react to the death of his wife? How does Candy react?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Not surprisingly, Curley shows no emotion, other than a cold anger toward Lennie, when his wife is discovered dead in the barn in chapter 5 of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Rather than cry or get down on this knees to hold the dead girl, Curley flies into a rage and tells the other men he is going to get his shotgun and "kill the big son-of-a-bitch myself." His anger seems more inspired by the beating he took at Lennie's hands in chapter 3 and not the fact that his wife is dead. The scene illustrates Curley's utter lack of love or respect for his wife. His only concern is rounding up the men to hunt down Lennie and see that he is punished.

Candy also shows anger at the death of Curley's wife, because her death destroys his dream of going off and living with George and Lennie on their "little piece of land." After alerting George to the dead girl's body, he hopefully asks George if they can still "get that little place." George's silence is the answer, dashing Candy's hope of escaping the ranch and living out his final years in comfort among friends. When George leaves the barn to go to the bunkhouse to get Carlson's gun, Candy's anger and bitterness spills out against the dead girl:

"You God damn tramp," he said viciously. "You done it, di'n't you. I s'pose you're glad. Ever'body knowed you'd mess things up. You wasn't no good. You ain't no good now, you lousy tart."

And he goes on to lament the loss of what could have been, repeating "the old words" he had heard George tell Lennie:

"If they was a circus or a baseball game...we would have went to her...jus' said 'ta hell with work,' an' went to her. Never ast nobody's say so. An' they'd have been a pig and chickens...an' in the winter...the little fat stove...an' the rain comin'...an' us jus' sittin' there."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial