The loneliness of Curley’s wife is portrayed in many different ways throughout the book, using both the words of characters and Steinbeck’s narrations. Even at the beginning of the book, a sense of the loneliness is displayed through the setting of Soledad, meaning solitude, and plays a perfect backdrop for the loneliness of the characters. By setting the story in Soledad, Steinbeck demonstrates the terrible loneliness that all of the characters are feeling, including Curley’s wife.
The ironic thing about her loneliness is that she is the only character in the book that has a partner or husband, but still comes across as the most solitary one of them all. She shows a lot of anger and sarcasm when she speaks about Curley, “swell guy ain’t he?” being a clear example of this. Steinbeck’s use of the rhetorical question in her speech shows how little she really cares about him and feels almost the exact same way towards him as the other character’s do.
Curley’s wife’s loneliness can partly be blamed on the abandonment that occurs between her and Curley. After only two weeks of marriage he has left her to go to the “cat house” with the other ranchmen. This shows that Curley treats her much like an object and just expects her to be there all the time. He relies on her femininity and general sex appeal to make himself look better than the other ranch workers, and this is displayed by the fact that he wears a “glove full of Vaseline” on his hand. This clearly shows that Curley wants to display her sexuality and is very proud of it, but doesn’t realise the impression it’s having on the other men.
Throughout Curley and his wife’s marriage, they are never seen together alive in the book and even after her death Curley refuses to stay with her and mourn. Instead he chooses to take the opportunity to go and hunt down Lennie. This is the final thing that determines their truly