It tells you a lot about the character that she's referred to, not by name, but by her relation to her husband. She is "Curley's wife," not a person in her own right. So right from the outset, we're left in doubt as to how she's regarded, not just by...
It tells you a lot about the character that she's referred to, not by name, but by her relation to her husband. She is "Curley's wife," not a person in her own right. So right from the outset, we're left in doubt as to how she's regarded, not just by Curley, but by just about everyone else on the ranch. But in common with most of the ranch hands, Curley's wife has dreams. However, because she's nothing more than Curley's property, she hasn't been able to pursue her ambition to be a movie star:
"Awright," she said contemptuously. "Awright, cover 'im up if ya wanta. Whatta I care? You bindle bums think you're so damn good. Whatta ya think I am, a kid? I tell ya I could of went with shows. Not jus' one, neither. An' a guy tol' me he could put me in pitchers . . . "
And she appears to have dreamed of making it big in showbusiness for a long time, going right the way back to when she was a young adult:
"I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself." She said darkly, "Maybe I will yet." And then her words tumbled out in a passion of communication, as though she hurried before her listener could be taken away. "I lived right in Salinas," she said. "Come there when I was a kid. Well, a show come through, an' I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol' lady wouldn' let me. She says because I was on'y fifteen. But the guy says I coulda. If I'd went, I wouldn't be livin' like this, you bet."
Curley's wife's resentment toward her husband comes through in the last line. "Livin' like this" is clearly something she can't stand. And who'd blame her? She's a kept woman; her life on the ranch, though materially comfortable, is mind-numbingly boring and restrictive. She hates her life and wants to escape; she wants to be an actress just like they told her she could be when she was fifteen—but she can't. Her whole identity is bound up in her tempestuous marriage.