The Themes Of Survival In Cannery Row By John Steinbeck

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Imagine if you will, Cannery Row, Monterey. Now, imagine Cannery Row during the great depression. The floods of tourists that we often see today were far and few, but the bustle of workers struggling to can someone else’s meal was always about. The noises of these factories were constantly whirring, and the stink of freshly caught fish was always present. The shops were scarce, and people were often there purely for work and less so for entertainment. People were trying to survive working with what they had, and this is what John Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row was trying to portray. Most people can agree that Steinbeck’s Cannery Row doesn’t have much of a solid plot. Instead, the book is incredibly character driven, and also attempts to…show more content…
The first time survival ever comes up in a strong way was in chapter six, where Steinbeck described The Great Tide Pool and described the various murders that occurred purely for food. “A small wave breaks over the barrier, and churns the glassy water for a moment and mixes bubbles into the pool, and then it clears and is tranquil and lovely and murderous again” (Steinbeck, 27). Even in chapter 20, there are themes of survival when it comes to Mack and the boys giving the frogs that they found to Doc in hopes that they’d get a nickel for each one. “We’re in the chips”, Mack said enthusiastically. “Doc pays us a nickel a frog and we got a thousand.” Lee nodded. The price was standard. Everybody knew that. “Doc’s away,” said Mack. “Jesus, is he going to be happy when he sees all them frogs” (Steinbeck,…show more content…
The crab was a fairly dark character as Steinbeck described. “Here a crab tears a leg from his brother” (Steinbeck, 28). Despite the fact that the crab ripped a leg off of his own brother, I want to focus on the octopus because I definitely believe that this was foreshadowing. “Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while it’s evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows towards a feeding crab, and as it comes close it’s eyes burn and it’s body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tip of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab” (Steinbeck, 28). I believe that this could be foreshadowing how ambitious the townspeople can

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