Critical analysis of the short story Breakfast by John Steinbeck

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John Steinbeck has illustrated a story of gratification, bliss and thankfulness to God for His blessings. He has given an account of his individual experience to prove that material goods are not the reason for bringing happiness in our lives. It is our approach towards life and God that guarantees it. The background of the story is that of the Great depression of the 1930’s in which America and in fact the entire world witnessed the worst and the longest dullness in trade, industry and work. “Unemployment, hunger and mass unrest threatened the stability of all governments”. International trade declined sharply as the depression spread around the world. Once the writer met a family of cotton pickers who were living in a tent just like gypsies who do not have any permanent house or job. It is a recognized thing that gypsies are always on the move and they do not have a grand house to live in. They pitch up their tent where they find work. That family was just like these gypsies. They sat on the ground to eat because they did not have any chairs to sit on and used a packing box as their table. This all demonstrated that they were poor but at the same time they seemed quite cheerful and contended. They did not have any grievance or resentment against any person or agency on account of their poverty. They were happy with the living they had. They had been eating good food just for twelve days but they were grateful to God. While eating, the older man said, “God almighty, it’s good”. Satisfaction and thankfulness to God was their prosperity. After working for twelve days they were able to buy new clothes and they were pleased. It was quite easy for them to become blissful on little favors from their God and did not need much to be hap... ... middle of paper ... ...e panorama and ambiance. We do not find any divergence among the characters and the succinct stay of the wise city man with the simple villagers leads to his emotional and mental refinement. It is catharsis of his lumbering emotions. These emotions he was carrying from the city life of pain and worries. The city man leaves a moral lesson to ordinary people like us. We should visit poor, ordinary and simple villagers off and on. We can learn from them some better values of life or standards of conduct. There is also a danger. City people can carry city evils to village and spoil the villagers or they can add to the already existing evils. Clever urbanites can misguide the honest villagers as we find in this story. They can bring the evils of business, industrialization, political affairs and wickedness to them. These evils are evidently noticeable in the new century.

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