What happened in the barn between Lennie and Curley's wife?

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In chapter five, Curley's wife enters the barn and discovers that Lennie is attempting to hide the puppy that he accidentally killed. When Curley's wife attempts to befriend Lennie, he refuses to speak to her and says that George prohibits him from interacting with her. Upon Lennie's explanation as to...

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In chapter five, Curley's wife enters the barn and discovers that Lennie is attempting to hide the puppy that he accidentally killed. When Curley's wife attempts to befriend Lennie, he refuses to speak to her and says that George prohibits him from interacting with her. Upon Lennie's explanation as to why he isn't allowed to speak to her, Curley's wife begins to lament about her loneliness on the farm and difficult marriage. She then notices that Lennie is not paying attention and cannot stop petting the deceased puppy. After Lennie says that George will not allow him to tend rabbits in the future when he discovers that he killed the puppy, Curley's wife questions him about his fascination with rabbits. Lennie then admits that he loves the feel of soft things and Curley's wife comments that her hair is also soft and smooth. She then takes Lennie's hand and allows him to stroke her hair. Suddenly, Curley's wife begins to complain about Lennie stroking her hair too hard, which startles him and he begins to panic. When Curley's wife struggles to get away and raises her voice, Lennie tightens his grip and puts his hand over her mouth. Lennie then jerks her head in an attempt to silence her and accidentally kills Curley's wife by breaking her neck. Lennie immediately realizes that he has done something bad and travels to his hiding spot near the Salinas River.

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Well, what eventually happened is that Lennie killed her.  But let's look at what happened leading up to that.

Lennie is in the barn, hanging out with a dead puppy.  Curley's wife comes in and starts talking to him.  They talk about his and George's dream of the farm.  She talks about how she could have been in movies if it weren't for Curley.  She talks about her frustrations and her ambitions.  She criticizes Lennie some for being afraid to do things George tells him not to do.

Then comes the fatal part.  He talks about liking to touch soft things.  She has him touch her hair.  She starts to get mad because he's going to "muss" her hair.  She tries to pull away and he tries to stop her from struggling for fear George will be mad at him.  And he ends up breaking her neck.

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