In Of Mice and Men, why does Curley wear a Vaseline-filled glove?

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In Of Mice and Men, Curley wears a Vaseline-filled glove as an attempt to keep his hand soft for his wife, aiming to satisfy her sexually and thus prevent her from straying. However, this tactic proves ineffective as his wife continues to seek attention from other men. Curley's glove also symbolizes his insecurities, his need to display masculinity, and his failure to attend to his wife's emotional needs.

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Curley's quite an insecure guy, especially when it comes to his wife. Curley's wife is an attractive young woman, who uses her powerful, intoxicating sexuality to get what she wants. So Curley figures that, to stop her from straying, he has to keep his hand nice and soft with vaseline in order to be able to satisfy her sexually. It's clearly not very effective because Curley's wife continues to throw her sexuality in other men's faces with disarming regularity.

One gets the impression that Curley's just trying to prove his virility with the other men, in much the same way that he likes to challenge the bigger guys to a fight. He suffers from a little guy complex and so always feels the need to indulge in public displays of masculinity. However, the truth of the matter is revealed when Lennie crushes Curley's hand in a fight. Curley's hand then becomes a symbol, not just of impotence, but of his true personality beneath all that macho bravado.

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Curley wears a "glove fulla Vaseline" because he's "keepin his han' soft for his wife" according to Candy the swamper. He tells George about it when they arrive at the ranch and he says it with disgust. Curley is a very little man in physical stature who is forever trying to prove himself and he recently married a young beautiful woman who has eyes for other men on the ranch. Curley is jealous and suspicious so he tries to keep his wife content sexually, hence the glove, but he fails to pay attention to her emotional needs which is why she is constantly seeking the attention of anyone on the ranch that will pay it to her.

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