Curleys Wife Character Analysis

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Words: 616 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 616|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

One such character is Curley’s wife, who is often misunderstood and overlooked by readers. Through a close examination of her actions, words, and interactions with other characters, it becomes clear that Curley’s wife is a significant and tragic figure in the novella. This essay will delve into the character of Curley’s wife, analyzing her role in the story, her motivations, and the impact she has on the other characters.

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Curley’s wife is initially introduced to the reader as a flirtatious and attention-seeking woman, always on the lookout for company and validation. She is often perceived as a mere nuisance by the male characters on the ranch, who view her as a temptation and a threat to their livelihoods. However, a deeper analysis of Curley’s wife’s character reveals a much more complex and tragic figure. Despite her outward appearance of confidence and flirtation, she is ultimately lonely and unfulfilled, yearning for companionship and understanding.

Throughout the novella, Curley’s wife is portrayed as a victim of her circumstances, trapped in a loveless marriage and isolated on the ranch. Her interactions with the other characters shed light on her internal struggles and desires. For example, her conversation with Lennie in the barn reveals her longing for someone to talk to, as she confides in him about her unfulfilled dreams of becoming a movie star. This moment of vulnerability humanizes her character and evokes empathy from the reader, as it becomes evident that she is not simply a manipulative temptress, but a woman yearning for connection and understanding.

Curley’s wife’s actions and behaviors are also influenced by the societal norms and expectations of the time period in which the novella is set. As a woman in 1930s America, she is limited in her options and opportunities, forced to conform to the roles and expectations set by a patriarchal society. Her marriage to Curley, a possessive and controlling man, further restricts her freedom and agency. This context adds a layer of tragedy to her character, as she is ultimately a victim of the oppressive structures and expectations of her time.

Despite her tragic circumstances, Curley’s wife’s character is also marked by a sense of resilience and defiance. She refuses to be confined to the role of a dutiful wife, seeking out companionship and attention from the other men on the ranch. Her flirtatious and attention-seeking behavior can be seen as a form of rebellion against the constraints placed upon her by society and her marriage. In this sense, her character can be viewed as a symbol of the struggle for agency and autonomy in a repressive and patriarchal world.

Curley’s wife’s ultimate demise in the novella serves as a tragic and poignant reminder of the limitations and injustices faced by women in the time period. Her death at the hands of Lennie, albeit accidental, highlights the vulnerability and disposability of women in a society that values men’s power and authority. Her character’s fate is a stark commentary on the systemic oppression and marginalization of women, as well as the devastating consequences of limited agency and autonomy.

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In conclusion, Curley’s wife is a significant and tragic figure in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Her character is marked by a sense of longing and unfulfilled dreams, as well as a defiance and resilience in the face of societal constraints. Through a close analysis of her actions, words, and interactions with the other characters, it becomes clear that she is not simply a temptress or a nuisance, but a complex and multifaceted woman struggling against the limitations and injustices of her time. Her ultimate demise serves as a powerful commentary on the systemic oppression and marginalization of women, as well as the devastating consequences of limited agency and autonomy.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Curleys Wife Character Analysis. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from
“Curleys Wife Character Analysis.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Curleys Wife Character Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 May 2024].
Curleys Wife Character Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 May 18]. Available from:
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