12 December 2017
Cannery Row: Respect is Important
Cannery Row is densely populated with a group of characters, in the narrative sense of the word and in terms of personalities. There is Dora, an imposing figure of a woman who runs a successful brothel, Henri, the non-French Frenchman, Lee Chong the shrewd but kind-hearted grocer, Doc the scientist, Mack, who leads a small group of men and is loved by the people of Cannery Row, and a host of other fascinating people who make Cannery Row so compelling. It may not seem obvious when reading John Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row,” but the main point or lesson in the novel is the importance of respect and Steinbeck uses his characters to tell this story about respect and its effect on society.
In Cannery Row, Steinbeck is trying to say that respectability is the destructive force that preys on the world. Respect was important for all the citizens of Cannery Row whether it was a showing of respect or a lack thereof. Respect could make or break the citizens of Cannery Row. An example of that would-be William, the previous watchman for Dora’s Bear Flag. William always wanted to be part of Mack’s group and tried to act as if he was part of it but was denied. He even brought booze for all of them to drink, which they did, but William soon realized after that they just didn’t like him.William realized that the tight society of Cannery Row rejects him and laughs at him. William had no friends and no respect from others, so he thought that suicide was his only way out. As a result of having no respect from anyone, William ended his own life.
William was a casualty of the importance of respect. He didn’t earn the respect of others, even though it may not ha...
... middle of paper ...
...ldn’t care to pay back Lee Chong the money they owe him if he wasn’t respected.
Respect is something everyone wants in their society. If one is respected, it also brings on a self-comfort in that society. Mack and the boys showed that they had respect even though they were nothing more than bums. Doc always showed respect and was admired for that. Steinbeck does a perfect job of showing how respect from individuals has an effect on society. In a society, when people give to other people, those people tend to give back. Steinbeck did a wonderful job in showing that respecting and showing kindness to others will result in the same actions and feelings towards you by others.
Steinbeck, John. Cannery Row: Centennial ed., Penguin Books, 1973.
Kane, Suzanne. “Importance of Respect.” Addiction.com, 18 May 2015, www.addiction.com/10051/importance-of-respect/.
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