Analysis of Curley's Wife Character

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About this sample


Words: 676 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 676|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Curley's Wife: A Symbol of Loneliness
  2. The Tragic Consequences of Curley's Wife's Personality
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography

Curley's wife, a character in John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, is often seen as a complex and misunderstood figure. Throughout the story, she is portrayed as a flirtatious and attention-seeking woman who craves companionship. However, upon closer analysis, it becomes apparent that Curley's wife is a victim of the oppressive and patriarchal society in which she lives. This essay will explore the different facets of Curley's wife's personality, examining the ways in which her actions and interactions with other characters reveal her true nature. By delving into the complexities of her character, we can gain a deeper understanding of the themes and messages conveyed by Steinbeck in his novel.

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Curley's Wife: A Symbol of Loneliness

One of the key aspects of Curley's wife's personality is her overwhelming sense of loneliness. Throughout the novel, she is constantly seeking attention and companionship, often resorting to flirtation as a means of gaining the affection she craves. This behavior, however, is often misinterpreted by the men on the ranch as promiscuity or immorality.

Steinbeck portrays Curley's wife as a victim of the male-dominated society, where women are seen as objects of entertainment for men. This is evident in the way she is constantly referred to as "Curley's wife," denying her an individual identity and reducing her to the role of a possession. This lack of agency and identity contributes to her feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Furthermore, Curley's wife's dreams of becoming an actress further highlight her longing for a life beyond the confines of her marriage. She confides in Lennie, saying, "I coulda been in the movies... An' I coulda sat in them big hotels, an' had pitchers took of me." This reveals her desire for a life of glamour and recognition, a life that is far from her current reality of being trapped on a ranch.

Curley's wife's loneliness is also evident in her interactions with the other characters. She seeks attention from the ranch hands, often entering their bunkhouse under the pretense of looking for Curley. However, this is merely a ruse to alleviate her own boredom and isolation. Despite her attempts to connect with others, she is met with hostility and rejection.

The Tragic Consequences of Curley's Wife's Personality

Curley's wife's personality, shaped by her loneliness and yearning for companionship, ultimately leads to tragic consequences. Her flirtatious behavior and desire for attention inadvertently lead to the death of Lennie, one of the novel's main characters.

When Curley's wife enters the barn and discovers Lennie alone, she attempts to engage him in conversation. However, her persistent presence and insistence on touching Lennie's hair agitate him, leading to a violent outburst. In a moment of panic, Lennie unintentionally kills Curley's wife, thus sealing his own fate.

This tragic turn of events highlights the destructive power of Curley's wife's personality. Her need for attention and affection ultimately leads to the downfall of those around her. It is important to note, however, that this tragedy is not solely the fault of Curley's wife but is also a result of the oppressive and suffocating environment in which she exists.


Curley's wife, a character with a complex and multifaceted personality, serves as a symbol of loneliness and victimhood in the novel Of Mice and Men. Through her actions and interactions with other characters, Steinbeck explores the devastating consequences of a society that denies women agency and individuality.

By delving into Curley's wife's personality, we gain a deeper understanding of the themes of isolation, longing, and the human desire for companionship that permeate the novel. Her tragic fate serves as a stark reminder of the destructive power of societal oppression and the importance of empathy and compassion.

Overall, the character of Curley's wife offers a nuanced portrayal of a woman caught in the grasp of a patriarchal society. Through her experiences and interactions, Steinbeck forces us to confront the harsh realities of a world that denies women agency and devalues their worth. By analyzing Curley's wife's personality, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the themes and messages conveyed by Steinbeck in his powerful novel.

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Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Penguin Books, 2000.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Analysis of Curley’s Wife Character. (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Analysis of Curley’s Wife Character.” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
Analysis of Curley’s Wife Character. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Analysis of Curley’s Wife Character [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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