Of Mice and Men – Task Fifteen

1) How have Curley’s wife’s dreams for her life changed or been lost?


She believed that she could have a career in show business but, after marrying Curley, she finds herself in a dead-end. She still believes she could break out, but we question how real those opportunities were for her in the first place.


2) Why does Curley’s wife tell Lennie about “the letter”? What do you think the letter symbolizes?


Curley’s Wife needs to believe that she could have another life. Without this hope, she is condemned to spend the rest of her life on the ranch. The letter symbolizes the possibility of a different life, in the same way that the ranch symbolizes hope for a better life for George and Lennie.


3) How does Lennie’s killing of the puppy parallel his killing of Curley’s wife and the mice?


Lennie is attracted by the softness of her hair, in the same way he was attracted to the soft fur of the mice. The death itself is brought about by Lennie not fully understanding his own strength. Both are accidents, but the latter carries far more serious repercussions. However, the former foreshadowed the death of Curley’s Wife.


4) How does Candy react to the death of Curley’s wife?


Candy’s preoccupation is with what the death means for the dream of the ranch. When he realizes that Lennie’s actions have ruined the chance of owning the ranch, he shouts at the corpse of Curley’s Wife, understanding that he will now probably die on the ranch, or in poverty.


5) What options do George and Candy discuss after the discovery of the body?


They wonder if it would be possible to have Lennie imprisoned, but both know that Curley will organize a lynch-mob to kill Lennie. As soon as they understand that justice is not going to be possible, the only option left to them is giving Lennie the least painful death possible.

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