In chapter four, Curley’s wife sees Crooks, Candy, and Lennie talking. She wants to join the conversation because she is lonely. As soon as she comes forward, the men look away and do not make eye contact, except for Lennie. He watches her with fascination. At this point, she gives her description of the men. In a word, she says that the men are scared of each other and presumably of her.
She regarded them amusedly.
“Funny thing,” she said. “If I catch any one
man, and he’s alone, I get along fine with him. But just let two of the guys get together an’ you won’t talk. Jus’ nothing but mad.”
She dropped her fingers and put her hands on her hips.
“You’re all scared of each other, that’s what. Ever’ one of you’s scared the rest is goin’ to get something on you.”
After a pause Crooks said, “Maybe you better go along to your own house now. We don’t want no trouble.”
Curley’s wife does not give a detailed description of the men, but her words are insightful. For the most part, there is a lot of fear roaming on the ranch. Crooks is afraid of the whites on the ranch. Candy is afraid because he knows that he is old and cannot do much. George is afraid that Lennie will mess up again. It is this fear that keeps the men apart, and so there is no community.