"“I get lonely,” she said. “You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?”"
Isolation and despair is something most of the characters in this book experience
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeIsolation and despair is something most of the characters in this book experience - Credit: PCT on fotocommunity

This is an important speech. Just as he did with Crooks, John Steinbeck first showed the prejudice of the other characters towards Curley’s wife, and now explores her own feelings about that prejudice. As with Crooks, the deepest problem caused by segregation and other people’s suspicion is the loneliness that it brings on the excluded person. Curley’s wife simply wants to talk to people, but if she does so she is seen to be flirting or causing trouble. Curley’s jealousy and the other men’s fear puts her into an isolated position, and if she attempts to break out of this position she is blamed.

Curley’s wife’s loneliness is shown as the deepest and most hopeless of all the characters. The ranch workers can talk to each other and form friendships. Candy can come in on George and Lennie’s dream. Crooks suggested coming in on the dream too, but then pulled himself back when George demonstrated his prejudice towards the black man. For Curley’s wife, however, there isn’t even the possibility of making a friend or joining in with the others’ dreams. She had her own dreams of how life should be, like George and Lennie, but hers were even less achievable. She is truly alone in a way that none of the men are, and she will never be accepted.