Cannery Row Essay

Submitted By sweetsnowbell
Words: 913
Pages: 4

Themes in Cannery Row
Maybe it's more important to be appreciated than to be wealthy. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck is one of the most unique of all of the Nobel Prize winning novels. Cannery Row is set in a poor area of California known as Monterey. The time era is post-Depression and World War II. The novel is about how lower class people with warm hearts have the ability to create their own heaven on earth. The underlying story in Cannery Row is about Mack and the boys trying to hold a party for Doc. Mack and the boys are a group of unemployed men living together in the run down fish-meal shack. Doc is a very intelligent and caring man who runs a biological supply house. Meanwhile, the boys set up a party at Doc’s place, but Doc is late to get there and the party ends without him there. The boys are upset about their failure. When Doc helps out their dog, the boys decide to hold another party for Doc. This time he is able to go to it and everyone has a good time. Steinbeck incorporates a few themes into the novel such as failure and historical themes like the depression era. The three most noteworthy themes such as loneliness, sympathy, and remittance were portrayed in Cannery Row which give the novel depth and fascination. In the story Cannery Row, Loneliness is a main theme to the characters’ lives. In the beginning of the novel, Steinbeck introduces the readers about a character named William who got depressed when Mack and the boys didn't want to hang out with him, so he eventually killed himself by sticking an ice pick in his heart. “He was a dark and lonesome looking man' No one loved him. No one cared about him” (Steinbeck, 6). The unkindness of his loneliness makes this theme one of the most important themes among others. The character’s agony towards life can crack ones innermost thoughts and leave the sense of belonging. In addition, a man who was not entirely alone was still feeling lonesome. In spite of his friendliness and his friends, “Doc was a lonely and set- apart man” (Lisca, 132). No matter how many friends an individual have, but still could not have the one good friend that he needs. Isolation comes in many different forms that can be lethal to the soul. Loneliness is an important theme since it can enters a reader’s mind with the severity of its depressing sentiments. Sympathy, another theme in this book, have the same amount of impact on an individual. Instead of it having a negative reaction, it has a superior reaction to the reader. “Lee Chong knew he could not have helped it, but he wished he might have known and perhaps tried to help. It was deeply a part of Lee Chong’s kindness and understanding that man’s right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary” (Steinbeck, 4). Lee was having compassionate sentiments for the man who committed suicide. He had a deep feeling that he could have helped in some way to convince the man that his life was worth living. Another side story that was important to the theme of Sympathy was a story about Mary Talbot and her Kitty Casini, her dear cat. “Daintily she stabbed the mouse through the back and drew it wriggling to her and her tail flicked with tense delight I can’t blame Kitty Casini said Mary. I’m just not going to like her no matter how much I want to” (Steinbeck, 155-156).