In the book, Of Mice and Men, Curley is the antagonist who creates problems for George and Lennie. He is a pugnacious man who is small in stature. Curley has a Napoleonic complex and tries to compensate for his small size by fighting with people who are larger than
He uses his freedom as an advantage, while he can fight someone and not get into any trouble the other person will and will not fight back. Lastly, he has an excuse to fight; Curley is small and if he thinks someone bigger than him is intimidating he can fight them. The main reason Curley is able to intimidate everyone is because he can do anything without the fear of punishment. Curley is the boss’ son and has a high power over the other workers. He is able to pick a fight without the punishment of losing a job.
Curley’s freedom is intimating to other people, they know that Curley is able to do anything to them, and with his aggressive personality they are afraid that he could do something very severe. Most people like Curley will bluff and say they would fight, but with Curley the other people know he will do it. This lack of restrictions is a reason to fight more; since there is no punishment he does it more. Curley, with his ability to do anything with impunity will cause great hardship for both Lennie and George.
Curley is very intimidating to everyone because he has the advantage of freedom. Not only that he can do anything he wants without a consequence, but the other person cannot do anything back to him. The other people know that even if Curley fights them they cannot fight back in fear of trouble. He can threaten other people by trying to get them fired.
In the book, Candy says “S’pose Curley jumps a big guy an’ licks him. Ever’body says what a game guy Curley is. And s’pose he does the same thing and gets licked. Then ever’body says the big guy oughtta pick somebody his own size, and maybe they gang up on the big guy. ” This gives him a sense of power, he feels bigger because people are afraid to even throw a punch at him. With Curley around the ranch it will be very hard for George and Lennie to keep their jobs. Curley is intimidating to both George and Lennie, mainly because he finds any excuse to fight with them.
Curley always got “a chip on his shoulder,” he is looking for any excuse to engage in a conflict. For example, when he sees Lennie, he gets mad at wants to fight. He uses Lennie’s large build as a reason to “scrap”. Even George wonders, “What the hell’s he got on his shoulder? Lennie didn’t do nothing to him.” It turns out Curley just thinks Lennie is intimidating. George is also afraid that Curley’s wife will create problems. George has to guard Lennie from her or Curley could use her as an excuse to fight with him, even though Curley’s wife is a flirtatious woman.
Curley can create many excuses and all of them are valid because of his high power. All the reasons that Curley is able to intimidate people with, are tied in with power. With power comes impunity, and being the boss’ son gives him the freedom to do anything without consequence. Since people are afraid to start a conflict with him, because of fear of punishment, Curley feels a sense of power over other people. Lastly all the excuses Curly makes are valid because of his power. Curley uses his authority in a way that intimidates everyone.