Cannery Row Essay

Cannery Row Essay

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John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” shows how people living there dealt with the hardships brought by the Great Depression. Steinbeck set his novel in the 1930’s in Cannery Row, California. The canneries are an integral part of the fish industry and Steinbeck makes the ailing American economy a critical part of everyone’s lives in his novel. He show how different characters, with different points of view with the exact same situation.

A cannery is the place where food gets canned to be later sent to food stores or markets. Marine biology plays a part in the fish industry because the fish and other sea creatures must be captured first as they enter the food canning process. The first cannery built was the canning of salmon in Monterey, California. The first major successful cannery opened before the Great Depression, in 1908, by the Pacific Fish Company. As time went on, improved technology made production in these canneries faster. Also, sardines were popular and in high demand. Wartime production expanded even more after the ending of the war. World War II foreshadows the fish industry’s revitalization and growth. Cannery workers typically had to work all day, no matter what, and worked by whistle. There were no scheduled work shifts, but there were indeed bad working conditions. A crucial part of the story that was unfortunately omitted was about canneries and their history. Steinbeck most likely left this out because he anted to show the relations people had with each other at this time rather than inform his readers about the cannery business.

Cannery Row is a small section of Monterey. California, in which the cannery workers lived. This was considered the “heart” of the city because it was the geographic and it was also w...


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...rangers. If there was an upside to the Great Depression it’s that it brought people closer together than they were before. It also inspires readers to be grateful for what they have in bad situations and to appreciate any change for the better.




Works Cited

1. Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: The Viking Press Inc., 1945

2. Michelle & Anisa . “The 1930’s.” Brisas. 24 Jan 2010.

3. Amadeo, Kimberley. “Depression Time- When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.” About.com: US Economy. 24 Jan 2010.

4. Reinhardt, Claudia. Ganzel, Bill. “Having Fun in the Middle of the Great Depression.” Living History Farm. 2003. 24 Jan 2010.

5. Michaellan, William. “Favorite Books & Authors.” Cannery Row. 24 Jan 2010.

6. “Cannery Row in Monterey / Monterey’s Most Complete Destination.” Looking Back- The Canneries. 2008. 24 Jan 2010.

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