Curley’s wife gives off the impression she is a floozy throughout the novel. When we first see her, her body language is deliberately provocative when she leans against a pole in the barn. ‘So her body was thrown forward.’ Knowing her beautiful womanly figure, and being the only woman on the farm, this suggestive posture reveals her need to be noticed and admired by the men. She talks very confidently and flirtatiously to George and Lennie even though they have just arrived and she doesn’t know them. She pretends to be looking for her husband and when told that he is not there Steinbeck writes: ‘“If he ain’t, I guess I better look some place else" she said playfully.’ This suggests her boredom in marriage and that she just wants company and fun. She talks ‘playfully’ as a young teenager would and obviously cares more about throwing herself towards people and enjoying male company than she does spending time with her husband.
Candy’s opinion of her is very prejudiced as he says to George and Lennie, ‘I think Curley’s married... a tart.’ This is prejudiced as just because he has got that impression of her, he may be very wrong and other people should be left to judge for themselves, although Candy warns them away from her right from the beginning. Later in the book, she has a disrespectful attitude towards Crooks, George and Lennie. `You bindle bums think you’re so damn good', ‘talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs, a nigger an' a dum-dum and a lousy ol' sheep' shows even though she is younger, she has no respect and thinks herself a lot better than them. She likes to create attention for herself as she clearly feels she isn’t noticed.
She uses the fact she is a vulnerable female against Crooks and is very racist towards him. ‘Well you keep your trap shut then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’ This is a definite threat to Crooks. This shows that the social attitudes at the time were extremely racist and she chooses him because he is the most weak and least able to defend himself. She was going to accuse him of sexual assault and his black skin she knew would add to the problem. This gives her some status and power despite her because she is the only woman though her unpopular husband actually makes her an outcast on the farm. Nobody will want to converse with her because they fear her husband, and because they would automatically tar her with the same brush as they had him, which is to be extremely unreasonable and disrespectful, not to mention rude and very unfriendly.
When Lennie and George arrive at the ranch, Curley’s wife claims to be looking for her husband Curley. But she clearly isn’t just there for that. ‘You’re the new fella’s that just come, ain’t ya?’ She immediately moves from finding her husband to acquainting herself with them. When Slim arrives and tells her Curley had gone into the house, she leaves in a hurry as though she thought they knew her intentions weren’t actually to find Curley.
There are, then, a number of aspects of her character which are less attractive. She flirts with the other men, she does not consider the effect she is having upon them and she is racist. She endangers their positions on the ranch through her behaviour.
Throughout the novel, there are also indications she is a victim rather than a floozy. You learn that she dreamt of being in films but it was never going to become a reality. She showed she had always been used by men as none of them ever intended to put her in films: ‘an’ a guy tol’ me he could put me in pitchers.’ Although she was very naive in believing it, it leaves her bitter in