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Cannery Row by Steinbeck.

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Cannery Row - In class Essay Like the title suggests Cannery Row is another of Steinbeck's novels that is set in that rougher areas of regional America during the Great Depression . It is described as a novella of short stories as it is a compilation of character studies and atmosphere rather than plot. Steinbeck's real gift for characterization is evident in the gang of penniless itinerant workers known as "Mack and the Boys," It is through these men's masculine views of the world that enables Steinbeck to celebrate humanity and community mate ship. The absence of female characters is not to suggest that woman had no roles in society instead it is to portray that females are stereotyped to be companions. The theme of community and mate ship is explored by the men throughout Cannery Row, being most alive in Mack and the boys. This "elder, leader, mentor' in the novel is Mack who leads the other boys away from the low to high ways of life into the sense of community by the creation of "The Palace Flophouse and Grill." A way that 'Mack and the boys" showed their manly affection for each other as a surrogate family was by competing in making something out of nothing for the Flophouse. ...read more.


These actions are subsequently disapproved by her husband. "...for Christ's sake what are we going to do with curtains? We got no windows." Mary Talbot is another caricature of femininity. Even though she is addressed with a first name and is thus given an identity she is still the stereotypical loving, emotional, caring and supportive wife. Mary Talbot will do anything to please her husband Tom and hence she is a model wife that all husband wishes for. Steinbeck once again makes fun of how men view women and their activities by ridiculing the existence tea parties. "Mary sometimes gave parties for the neighborhood cats." Men reflect negativity towards dominating women. This is evident in Cannery Row where we see the character of Gay's wife through the view of Hazel. His description is one that is biased and unfair. This is because Gay's wife can not defend herself as her character is presented through an eye of a males'. "his wife hits him pretty bad...she waits 'til he gets to sleep and hits him...he has to wake up and beat her up.... He don't get any rest." Thus it is evidently that both Gay and his wife contributed to the above situation as Gay also beats his wife. ...read more.


She is a true and realistic woman who is content with her life. Thus making her the most interesting woman in the eyes of these men. It is great to notice that Dora's 'girl's' unlike her are seen through a men's perspectives solely for sexual pleasure. All the men in Cannery Row visit the brothel except for Doc where the women goes to him. In addition to this Steinbeck portrays these prostitutes as "normal girls with normal lives and jobs," instead of them being sinful. This highlights the unusual characters that Steinbeck is drawn to. He celebrates and makes the marginalized men in Row seem like heroes even though they are flawed and different. This is because they are human who hold true to themselves. Steinbeck's representation of Row life is through a masculine point of view. This is due to the limited input and development of female characters. Readers never truly see a woman's perspective just what a man thinks a woman perspective will be. Thus many stereotypical views of femininity is evident in the book as "men just don't understand how a woman will feel... men just don't try to put themselves in a woman's place". Nevertheless Steinbeck manages to capture the spirit and mateship of the Row community who are able to remain optimistic despite the sorrow and depression occurring in the world. ...read more.

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