Curley's wife in many ways illustrates the death of hope and dreams whereas George and Lenny represent the hope that dreams give them.
In chapter 5, she tells Lenny that she "coulda made somethin' of myself" when she was younger. She had had two opportunities to escape Salinas. Firstly, when she was fifteen "a show come through an' I met one of the actors". However, her mother would not let her leave with him because of her age.
On another occasion, she met a man "in pitchers" (movies). They went to "the Riverside Dance Palace" together and "He says he was gonna put me in the movies. Said I was a natural. Soon's he got back to Hollywood, he was gonna write to me about it." However, she never got the letter and "always thought my ol' lady stole it". She confronted her mother about stealing the letter and, when she denied it, married Curley the next day.
The irony is that neither of these actors seem honest and both probably took advantage of her. Marrying Curley, however, represented an end to her dream of being "in the movies an' had nice clothes". All that is left from her dreams are the "mules with red ostrich feathers" which she wears on the farm and make her seem out of place.
She "ain't never told this to nobody before" and this seems her only truly honest moment, mere moments before Lennie kills her
In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Curley's wife is a misunderstood character. She is a flirt and is characterized by the male characters as a "tart", but she does have dreams and goals.
She wanted to surpass the humble life that she had. She dreamed of being a star. She wants to be an actress.