Why did Curley's Wife marry Curley?John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men"

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," little is known of Curley's wife other than the fact that she is from Salinas.  One evening when she enters the stables and Crooks's room, she talks to Lennie and Crooks.  She tells them that she had aspirations of becoming an actress; her hopes were dashed, however, when her mother forbade her to run off with a young man who was an actor.  From Salinas, a name that connotes loneliness, Curley's wife met him at a dance:

So I married Curley.  Met him out to the Riverside Dance Palace that same night.

At first she was impressed with Curley's physical prowess.  But, now, she is tired of his pugnacious way of talking about the next person he will beat or punch:

I'm glad you bust up Curley a little bit.  He got it comin' to him.  Sometimes I'd like to bust him, myself.

kmullen's profile pic

kmullen | (Level 1) Honors

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Curley's wife married him to get away from her mother whom she thinks has ruined her chance of becoming a famous Hollywood actress. Curley's wife met a man who was "in the shows" at the local dance palace. The man told Culey's wife he could get her on the show but her mother said no because she was too young. Later, Curley's wife met a man who said he was from Hollywood and could get her into pictures. The man said he would write when he returned to Hollywood. Since she never heard from the man, Curley's wife assumes her mother kept the letter. She confronted her mother, who denied keeping the letter from her. That same night Curley's wife met him at the dance palace and married him.