Who is Curley's wife supposedly having an affair with?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Curley’s wife is a tease.  Even though she and Curley have just been married, she seems to be looking for an affair.  Ranch gossip seems to be that Slim or Carlson might be the one she is having an affair with.  When George and Lennie join the ranch, the old man Candy is more than happy to share the juicy tidbits.

“I seen her give Slim the eye. Slim’s a jerkline skinner. Hell of a nice fella.  Slim don’t need to wear no high-heeled boots on a grain team. I seen her give Slim the eye. Curley never seen it. An’ I seen her give Carlson the eye.” (ch 2)

Curley’s wife is described as having “the eye” and looking at other men.  Slim is described as a “big tall skinner” and they do seem friendly.

Slim’s voice came through the door. “Hi, Good-lookin’.”

“I’m tryin’ to find Curley, Slim.”

“Well, you ain’t tryin’ very hard. I seen him goin’ in your house.” (ch 2)

She gets nervous and leaves when she finds out that Curley was headed for her house.  She doesn’t seem to be looking for him after all.  She uses looking for him as an excuse to talk to other men.


gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Curley's wife is rumored to be having an affair with Slim. During a conversation between Candy and George, Candy says that he saw Curley's wife giving Slim "the eye." Later on, Curley's wife enters the bunkhouse and Slim refers to her as "Good lookin'." When Curley is looking for his wife, he immediately asks where Slim went. George responds by telling Curley that Slim went to the barn about ten minutes ago, and Curley runs out of the bunkhouse after him. Curley is clearly anxious about his wife being around Slim and is under the impression that she is having an affair with him. Later on, Curley and Slim get into an argument over his wife. As the men enter the bunkhouse, Curley attempts to apologize to Slim for accusing him of sleeping with his wife. Carlson laughs and tells Curley,

"You God damn punk.... You tried to throw a scare into Slim, an' you couldn't make it stick. Slim throwed a scare into you. You're yella as a frog belly. I don't care if you're the best welter in the country. You come for me, an' I'll kick your God damn head off" (Steinbeck, 30).

amne | Student