We never find out the name of Curley’s wife’s name so throughout the novel she is referred to as ‘Curley’s wife’. This clearly shows how she is a property of Curley as we never know her name and he is very possessive over her as he’s always looking for her and she’s under her command. The men also see her in that way because they always turn away or avoid her because as she’s his possession if he finds out that the men have done anything to her. They would possibly be sacked; this leads onto the Great Depression, due to the Great Depression there were not many jobs available around America. So the men were desperate to get a job in order to get the main facilities like food and shelter. The ranch they were at meant that they couldn’t say a word wrong or else they’d be sacked as the boss has plenty of other men to choose from, this is why the ranchmen try to avoid her as they could potentially lose their job if they get themselves into a mess.
She is expected to do everything Curley tells her to do, for example he makes it clear that she should stay at home and she fears him. At one point of the story, she find out that Curley is going into the house and she rushes home before he find out that she was not there. She is scared that he would physically torture her. Curley has a glove full of Vaseline showing that he torments her and physically abuses her but using the Vaseline would be she would be left with bruises.
As the only woman on the ranch, Curley’s wife is lonely and sad, something her marriage to Curley only makes worse. She reveals throughout the course of the story that she is unhappy in her marriage because her husband seems to care little for her, and is really more interested in talking about himself than anything else. Further, she cries over her lost potential; she says twice that she could’ve been a Hollywood movie star, though the chance was taken from her by her mother, who worried she was too young.
She knows Lennie is supposed to stay away from her, but thrives on his attention and wants his praise for her soft hair. It is not coincidental that she ends up losing her life because she didn’t want Lennie to mess up her hair. This final event sums up Curley’s wife’s role as when she dies it’s almost as if she is at peace with the world where she will not be discriminated.
Furthermore she isn’t expected to work which add to her loneliness because unlike the men, they have work to take them off their loneliness and they have a ranch house where they can play cards with other men. But Curley’s wife belongs to the home where Curley hardly is and so spends her time in misery.
In conclusion I think that Curley’s wife memorable and significant character using Steinbeck’s portrayal because he used a series of descriptions showing how Curley’s wife is discriminated greatly due to her gender. Simple things like having people around you had a great impact on Curley’s wife as she is very lonely and all she wants is the attention of someone who would give it. Also being in a loveless marriage would mean that she didn’t really love him as he doesn’t love her but she married him as he provides her with the food, money and shelter.