What sort of points could be given to back up the following statement? "Curley's wife is innocent."

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Curley's wife is innocent because she is a victim and not a predator. She is lonely, she's more good looks than she is trouble, and she's harmless. First of all, Curley doesn't treat his wife with much trust or respect. They aren't really friends, either. He's always running around looking for her rather than tending to his duties. If he would treat her with more respect, and let her get out of the house once in awhile to do things with other women friends, he wouldn't be as suspicious of her getting with Slim or any other worker. Because of Curley's mistreatment of his wife, she wants to talk with other people; so, she settles for talking to the workmen to ease the loneliness.

When Curley's wife talks to the workmen, this causes great alarm among the workers; but, Curley's wife is just more good looks than she is trouble. She's a young girl who uses the excuse that she's out looking for her husband to have some interaction with other people. The men simply misunderstand how she presents herself because they find her attractive. For example, when George meets Curley's wife for the first time, her actions are described as follows:

"She put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward. . . Lennie's eyes moved down over her body, and though she did not seem to be looking at Lennie she bridled a little" (31).

Her body language may seem to be provocative, but it's Lennie who possibly has the tempting thoughts. Men always place the blame on women being dangerous rather than taking responsibility for their own thinking. She's not throwing herself at them; she's merely standing by the door. There's no evidence to show that Curley's wife ever asked anything inappropriate from any of the men. Therefore, she's just pretty, not trouble.

Finally, Curley's wife is harmless. She makes some good threats on the night all the men are gone and she's talking to Crooks, Lennie and Candy; but she doesn't go through with them. She made those threats to Crooks, mostly, so he would back down. But she's the only one who is really gentle and kind to Lennie. Curley's wife just really wants a friend, so when she talks to Lennie, she is kind and shows a true spirit of trust with him.