"Breakfast" John Steinbeck Analysis

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“A merry heart goes on all day

The sad tires in a mile” (William Shakespeare)

John Steinbeck, an American author and winner of the Nobel Prize, was a leading writer of novels about the working class and was a major spokesman for the victims of the Great Depression. Steinbeck is widely known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath  and the novella Of Mice and Men.

In the following short story, the author tells us about a poor, yet united family of cotton pickers who invited him in to share breakfast together. The text presents a piece of first person narration interwoven with the descriptions of nature, short lines and character descriptions united into one complete logical part.

Basing on the framing structure of the composition the reader can guess the the following story makes up a part of the author’s memoirs. The introductory part begins with his recalling of one of the warmest memories of his life. In the beginning, the reader pictures the author shivering with cold, standing in the middle of the deserted valley, as the surrounding nature is still asleep. As the story unfolds, the author introduces us to the other characters – the girl and the two men, making the reader become the participant of their everyday life. Further the family members offer the author to breakfast together and out of kindness even offer him a job – that’s when the storyline reaches its’ culmination point. Finally, in the dénouement we see the author – saying goodbye to this hospitable strangers. And as the narration rounds off, the reader once again returns to the author, diving deep into this pleasant memory.

It is also possible to draw a parallel between the storyline and the state of nature. At the very beginning, the author is alone and cold and it seems that the nature corresponds to his feelings – the surrounding atmosphere is dark and abandoned. However, when the daylight begins to break and shine...
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