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It is in chapter 5 that Curley's wife is seen more than a "vamp" or a sex object, or even as manipulative. It is Steinbeck's own genius to give her a moment of humanity and of empathy right before Lennie kills her. Curley's wife lived her own life of dreams before marrying Curley. Her life involved believing in promises of agents and others who said that she could be in the film industry, or "pitchers." She believed that her life could be much more than what it is now. She confesses to Lennie that her marriage to Curley is a loveless one, and that she yearned for so much more. In the silence of her shattered dreams, she lives a lonely life, devoid of any real human contact or connection. This is a condition that she believes could have been avoided had the expectations and realizations of Curley's wife's life been realized. Her discussion with Lennie brings out her own condition, one that is shrouded in sadness like so many characters in the novella. Her need to divulge all of this to Lennie is one that is reflective of how sad her life is, if only because of the profound level of hope she had before marrying Curley.
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