Leighton Meester’s piece for the Huffington Post is her stab at justifying Of Mice and Men as subtly feminist. It’s smart. Meester believes that the audiences at the show are laughing at her character’s death yet protesting when the dog dies because we still fear women.
Meester proposes that it’s Steinbeck’s ingenious subtext that makes you fear, ridicule and gang up on her flirtatious character. We die laughing when Curley’s wife actually dies, because she was asking for it. Her read on the whole thing is that the author is forcing us to confront our own ignorance about hating women. She rehashes it, bringing a dash of the female perspective to the table. She notes that in the play, Crooks has to live in a barn and he can’t get in on the card game because he’s black, but there’s nothing in the book to explain why Curley’s wife is so disruptive:
"If this woman is purely a victim, why is she so hated? And if she is truly harmless, why is she so threatening? Without question, it was a commentary on the social climate at the time, which still surprisingly applies today."
To Meester, Curley’s wife’s death feels tragic, but based on the audience reaction, to them, it isn’t.
I can't use Huffingonton Post as a source, but this summary doesn't do Leighton's blog justice. She brings up great points about the audience being threatened by any female character that deigns to have hopes and dreams of her own rather than simply servicing the male protagonist. A lot of the comments on the boards during previews was that Leighton, as Curley's wife, wasn't sexually desperate and throwing herself at the male players enough, ugh. Anyway, continue being flawless in your post-GG career!