Of Frogs and Traditon Essay

Of Frogs and Traditon Essay

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ohn Steinbeck's “Cannery Row” offers many interpretations, especially when viewed through the lens of the Holy Bible. From the Christ like figure of Doc to his apostles, Mack and the boys, Cannery Row is ripe with religious tropes. However, Doc is also considered to be quick to anger at times, and carries with him many themes found throughout the Old Testament texts and some legends that are even more aged. However, if we consider Doc to be the messianic figure he is then it wasn't the party that Doc had a problem with, nor that it was held without his knowing on his property. The issue arises with the process by which Mack and the boys use to fund the party. The green frogs harvested ultimately causes Mack and the boys to succumb to greed in an effort to praise Doc. The collection of frogs used as a currency is what sends Doc into a rage.
The triviality of frogs becomes a major theme throughout “Cannery Row” as a symbol of subjective greed. Doc needs Mack and the boys to get frogs for him only because he does not have the time when a tide is coming in and the boys do. He offers them pay in exchange for their services and treats the business transaction in a fairly trivial manner. He needs the frogs, yes, but they take a back seat to more important matters like collecting octopi at La Jolla. He notes that his, “dealings with Mack and the boys had always been interesting but rarely had they been profitable to Doc” (Steinbeck 48). So if it were a high priority Doc would probably utilize the services of some one more reliable. Rather, Doc uses Mack and the boys as mere entertainment and hopes they will provide a good show. Mack and the boys, however, list the job as their highest priority as it is their first step towards celebrati...

... middle of paper ...

...oc reestablishes the bond, which was broken by a glutton’s sense of praise.
The story of Mack and the boys throwing a party in honor of Doc is a story of abject greed. Ultimately, Mack's abuse of intuition cost him Doc's trust. Mack’s, Lee’s, and the boys' use of frogs to buy the approval of Doc bring disaster on the town. They literally brought an ancient plague down on Cannery Row, lost nearly all of their profits and destroyed the sanctity of Doc’s laboratory. They all bring this on themselves for the approval of Doc by superficial means. They each try to grab Doc’s acceptance at the expense of Doc. For all their talk about throwing a party in honor of Doc, they forgot all about him, and became obsessed with simply the party. Only after Mack comes to Doc to heal his dog, is a bond re-forged.

Works Cited
John 2:14, John, 2:16,

"Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck

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