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Curley's wife is terribly lonely. She seeks companionship with the only person who will talk to her. She finds Lennie with his dead puppy in the barn. Lennie has smothered his puppy to death. Curley's wife allows Lennie to stroke her hair because she knows that Lennie likes to pet soft things. She basically entices Lennie with her coy invitations to touch her. Curley's wife is desperate for attention: even the attention of a mentally challenged man like Lennie.