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In John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, the reader gets to uncover an unknown side of the nameless character of Curley's shortly before she dies accidentally at the hands of Lennie: She dreams of hitting the spotlight, of becoming famous, and live a much better life. She even tells us that she has been close to having the chance, but that it seems as if life has other plans for her. Yet, this is significant because such information helps us make a better character profile of a woman who gets judged so much throughout the novel.
From her actions alone, we can easily conclude that Curley's wife is a flirty woman. She dresses and puts on make up with the unique intention of causing attention to herself. She glances at the field hands in hopes of finding someone who glances back at her. Everything she does as a seductress is a combination of need, wonder, and curiosity. However, when she opens up to Lennie we catch a very different side of her personality that almost makes one feel sorry for the woman.
She tells Lennie:
Well, I ain’t told this to nobody before. Maybe I oughten to. I don’ like Curley. He ain’t a nice fella.” And because she had confided in him, she movedcloser to Lennie and sat beside him. “Coulda been in the movies, an’ had nice clothes—all them nice clothes like they wear. An’ I coulda sat in them bighotels, an’ had pitchers took of me. When they had them previews I coulda went to them, an’ spoke in the radio, an’ it wouldn’ta cost me a cent because I was inthe pitcher. An’ all them nice clothes like they wear. Because this guy says I was a natural.”
Curley's wife's words are not spoken in vain. They reflect the overall theme of the novel, which is the aim to reach a form of American Dream of our very own. It also reflects the problem of the story: The inability both social, financial, intellectual, and personal, of attaining goals when every possible obstacle comes in between you and your dream.
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