© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men Curley’s wife Quotes Page 1

Quote #1

"Awright," she said contemptuously. "Awright, cover 'im up if ya wanta. Whatta I care? You bindle bums think you're so damn good. Whatta ya think I am, a kid? I tell ya I could of went with shows. Not jus' one, neither. An' a guy tol' me he could put me in pitchers…" She was breathless with indignation. "—Sat'iday night. Ever'body out doin' som'pin'. Ever'body! An' what am I doin'? Standin' here talkin' to a bunch of bindle stiffs—a nigger an' a dum-dum and a lousy ol' sheep—an' likin' it because they ain't nobody else." (4.102-103)

If you think the ranchhands aren't free, imagine Curley's wife: she can't even pick up and move onto a new job when she gets sick of the old one. She's stuck with Curley for the rest of her (short) life. No wonder she flirts with Lennie.

Quote #2

"I tell you I ain't used to livin' like this. I coulda made somethin' of myself." She said darkly, "Maybe I will yet." And then her words tumbled out in a passion of communication, as though she hurried before her listener could be taken away. "I lived right in Salinas," she said. "Come there when I was a kid. Well, a show come through, an' I met one of the actors. He says I could go with that show. But my ol' lady wouldn' let me. She says because I was on'y fifteen. But the guy says I coulda. If I'd went, I wouldn't be livin' like this, you bet." (5.34)

Making it big in Hollywood may have been a fairly new American Dream in the 1930s, but it was definitely around. Just the special effects weren't quite as awesome.

Quote #3

"Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny."

Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego—nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, "Yes, ma'am," and his voice was toneless. (4.120-121)

Notice that Curley's wife doesn't threaten to lynch Crooks; she threatens to "get" him lynched. She has to do all her violence by proxy—and in the world of this novel, that makes her weak and despicable.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement