Distraught, contentious, confused

All I wanted was...

To have full authority

A "standard" life

To be the toughest

A good reputation

For people to take me seriously

I didn't want...

To be shown my place

A life ruled by unpredictability

Someone to be stronger than I was

To be considered hostile

To be taken for granted

Curley's view of the world is very primitive, in that he views life as a competition or battle that must be won by him. A standard goal that he feels absolutely necessary to being successful at his life is getting married, and he did; however, he never lets his wife leave their house, and always needs to know where she is, and he really isn't in love with her. Also, his combative approach to everyone that he meets shows that he only wants to assert the goal of being authoritative, and he thinks that physical violence is the only way to do so. Overall, he only really sees people as opponents, either a threat or an inadequate match.

Curley views slim as a worthy opponent, and thinks that he may pose a challenge at some point; however, he doesn't recognize that slim is a friendly person. Curley thinks that George poses no true threat to his marriage or his physical well-being, but he is skeptical of his motivations when he shows up with Lennie and asks for a job. When Lennie arrives, Curley is threatened by his strong appearance, is intimidated, and feels that he needs to "defeat" the threat that Lennie poses, which is why Curley attacks him for laughing, but doesn't fight slim for talking to his wife.

Curley's effect on the theme

Curley's "perfect life" notion is obstructed by other characters in the book; Lennie, Slim, his wife, and mildly by the other characters. Lennie poses a threat to his title of being the most physically capable, Slim threatens his goal of being the most intellectually and morally trustworthy, and he thinks that his wife is trying to make these goals unreachable. He knows that he has some responsibility for making these goals reality, and he recognizes that he has potential, but he is blinded to the fact that not everything is in his control, and that everyone else has the same power that he does to affect his life. The events that form the plot of the book are mostly out of his control, such as George and Lennie arriving on the ranch. Curley had no control over them looking for work, as well as Lennie being stronger than he was. The statement "change is inevitable" must be present at least in his subconscious, and the fact that he is being presented with it is very upsetting to him, and he feels that he needs to make it so that it never happened, which is why he chose all of the decisions that he made in the book. 

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