Curley’s wife only needed to be wanted because her husband was so disrespectful, neglectful and ultimately didn’t love her. So when she asked Lennie to touch her hair, she was desperate for some contact that her husband deprives her of. The fact many of the workers on the ranch believe that she was a “tart” shows how isolated she was from everyone and the lack of respect she received. She had no friends, a rude and selfish husband and everyone on the ranch stayed away from her. Lennie was the exception to this because he didn’t understand the situation so when Curley’s Wife finally received attention she didn’t realise how dangerous Lennie could be. She was well aware that Lennie thought she was beautiful. “Lennie's eyes moved down over her body, and though she didn't seem to be looking at Lennie she bridled a little.” She wasn’t acting maliciously when she allowed Lennie to touch her hair, she wanted someone to show her affection without degrading her.
The ranch workers also contributed to the lack of self-esteem Curley’s wife had which consequently lead to her death. Her being the only women on the ranch caused the men to prey on throughout the novel, making her even more of an object. She didn’t have a name, she was her husbands’ property, no one got to know her and she had no one to talk to. This meant she continued this behaviour because it did supply small amount of attention. So when George and Lennie arrived she “put her hands behind her back and leaned against the door frame so that her body was thrown forward” to try to gain their attention.
Lennie's mental challenges make him prone to be victimized by others or simply to be treated like a lesser person. This is the case when Lennie is visited by Curley's wife as part of one her many improper and imprudent visits to the workers during times where her husband is not around. Curley's wife is known to be troublesome. The field hands are quite aware of her fondness for looking for men and for dressing seductively. Therefore, this behaviour is what