Cannery Row

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  • Topic: John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, Cannery Row
  • Pages : 6 (2156 words )
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  • Published : September 30, 2006
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Cannery Row

John Steinbeck's story ‘Cannery Row' is basically a story that actually has no mystery yet has a story that has a mixture of humor and sadness. The story takes a glimpse into the lives of the residents of Cannery Row, which is situated in Monterey, California. Cannery Row is a place that depends on canning sardines. John Steinbeck describes Cannery Row as "a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of life, a tone, a habit, a nostagia, a dream [p. 1]." Steinbeck has focused on a group of individuals, whether rich or poor, who live in a working-class community. He shows how the relationships in the community affect one another. It's a quite interesting story and I like how Steinbeck writes how each group represent facets of the American Society. The characters in this story are the components of society, who basically face many problems in life yet they all go about finding ways to accomplish goals and resolve issues they face in their daily lives. Steinbeck defines these individuals by their social status and how dismal society's values and priorities have become. Lee Chong

The story starts off in a messy grocery store, which is owned and ran by a Chinese man named Lee Chong. Well the store is not we would dream of as our large grocery store that we see, such as your Safeway or Foodland. It is more of a tiny store, which Steinbeck describes the store as: "While not model of neatness was a miracle supply. It was small and crowded but within its single room, a man could find everything he needed or wanted to live and to be happy – clothes, food, both fresh and canned, liquor, tobacco, fishing equipment, machinery, boats, cordage, caps, pork chops. You could buy at Lee Chong's did not keep could be had across the lot at Dora's" [p. 1].

Lee Chong's grocery store was very convenient to the people who lived in the community. Although the store was tiny, it had a variety of items in stock that could actually fulfill one's needs, but on the other hand, it was particularly important to the community because it was a place to buy the good ole cheap whiskey the community called ‘Old Tennis Shoes.' Lee Chong was very successful and a very clever man. The community respected Lee Chong, not only because he was clever, but because he was very generous. At times, he can be very manipulative as a businessman and has a big heart for the people in this community. He served the people of Cannery Row by giving credit to people as a way for the poor to pay for groceries at his store. Yet when individuals default in their credit, Lee Chong would suspend the credit system. An example, as stated in the story, is when Horace Abbeville one day came into Lee Chong's store. He already knew he fell into debt so in order to pay his debt, Horace paid off the debt by giving Lee Chong the shack he owned that housed fishmeal. Lee Chong agreed to this arrangement. As the deal was sealed between both parties, Horace walked up the long trails to his former shack and shot himself in the head, leaving his wife and six children sad and confused. Lee Chong did not put any pressure on Horace. All he did was suspended his credit. Lee Chong felt bad at Horace's suicide but has kept his peace by looking out for Mr. Abbeville's family. Lee Chong is basically a man that has a good heart who is generous. He tries to take care of the people that are unfortunate and helps out with the event that is indicated in the story. Most importantly, he is a big hearted man in where he had arranged for his grandfather to be reburied in his homeland. Mack and the Boys

Lee Chong's new ownership of Mr. Abbeville's shack leads to the introduction of Mack and the boys. Mack is a man who is actually jobless yet he has a way to convince people on what or how he thinks. Once Mack and the boys hears that Lee Chong is the new owner of the shack, Mack builds his way and actually twists Lee Chong's arm to allow...
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