How does Curly immediately raise himself above the other men?
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The only thing I see in his initial scene in the difference in the way he dresses, especially the richness of the boots he wears.
Other than that..... I guess I would say his affinity for picking fights would be scene as "raising himself above," at least until Lenny tears into him.
Of Mice and Men
He bullies and threatens them.
Curly has small gut complex. He likes to bully bigger guys especially. The men are afraid to fight back because Curly is the bosses son.