In the story, the relationship between Lennie and Curley’s wife is that she lets him stroke her hair and he kills her. Symbolically, they hold a deeper connection as two tragically doomed characters who have impossible dreams.
Poor Lennie! He is an innocent soul. Curley’s wife is a bit of a flirt and desperately wants to be noticed. Together, they are a formula for trouble! Yet both of these characters are linked in their commonalities: both are simple, yet have big unachievable dreams. They are also tragically linked, since Lennie kills her accidentally.
Lennie is like a child. He does not forsee the consequences of his actions. Curley’s wife is childlike in her own way. She feels ignored and trapped. She does not like life on the ranch, and she does not like the way Curley treats her. In chapter 5, she tells Lennie about her dream as he tells her about his.
“Nother time I met a guy, an’ he was in pitchers. … He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Says I was a natural.”
Curley’s wife’s dream is no more achievable than Lennie’s. She dreams of movie stardom, he dreams of rabbits.
In chapter 1, Lennie says,
"I remember about the rabbits, George."
This is an example both of Lennie’s childlike nature and his dream. George dismisses his statement, even though it is George who wove this tale of the future for Lennie to have something to dream about.
Curley’s wife is also dreaming of a better life. She is lonely, even though she is surrounded by the ranch hands. She seems drawn to Lennie in a way. She comments in chapter 5,
“You’re nuts,” she said. “But you’re a kinda nice falla. Jus’ like a big baby. But a person can see kind what you mean.”
Ironically, it is this connection that dooms the two of them. Lennie accidentally kills her stroking her hair.