Curley’s spouse is the only female on the ranch and is explained in a really feminine and incongruous manner, “full, rouged lips and large spaced eyes, greatly fabricated. Her fingernails were red. Her hair hung in little rolled clusters, like sausages.
She wore a cotton home dress and red mules, on the insteps of which were little arrangements of red ostrich feathers”. The bold, greatly fabricated appearance matches her personality as she disguises her true sensations and emotions with lies like the colourful, intriguing appearance disguises her lonesome, separated life.
As the only woman, she is segregated from the ranch society and Steinbeck makes her appear more separated and friendless by never ever offering her a name however being recognized as Curley’s possession. She is seen throughout the novella searching constantly for Curley yet this is just an excuse to speak with the other individuals, “”I’m looking for Curley,” she said, her voice had a nasal, brittle quality.” She has a hard time to produce good friends or let alone have a civilised discussion with the guys on the ranch.
She utilizes this feminine look and flirty, predatory behaviour in an attempt to communicate and attract attention to herself. Nevertheless this backfires and leaves her in a no-win scenario as her heavily sexualised way is the bottom line of criticism among the men as they describe her as a “tart” and “a piece of jail bait” who, if approached, will just cause difficulty as she can eventually trigger the destruction of their own versions of the ‘American Dream’. Her isolation throughout the novella is caused by her gender, sexual appearance and predatory behaviour.