The Pastures of Heaven

Topics: John Steinbeck, Family, The Red Pony Pages: 5 (2240 words) Published: February 18, 2013
Literary Analysis
The Pastures of Heaven is a book written by John Steinbeck a book about multiple short stories that are connected by settings and the appearance of the Munroe family. The Munroe’s do not have bad intentions but they always seem to destruct a family in one way or another, such as indirectly running them out of town or costing them the loss of a family member. A member of the Munroe family serve as foil a character to the other families who live in the Pastures of Heaven to relay the theme. Steinbeck portrays the theme of how a person’s good will sometimes may not have a good result. Chapter three of the story explores one of the valley’s residents named Edward “Shark” Wicks. Shark desires attention and respect from residents in the town and he is known as the smartest man as well as the man to go to for any advice when it comes to any type of business issue. Shark’s life is built upon lies, however, for the truth is that he really has no money, and all of his wealth was just a big scam. His wife also bore him a beautiful yet unintelligent daughter named Alice; as she got older, her beauty became richer and richer. Shark becomes even more afraid of other men because of this beauty his daughter has and is obsessed with keeping Alice’s purity. Shark especially dislikes a particular boy named Jimmy Munroe which Shark bans Alice to ever speak to him. Shark, with his over-protectiveness and obsession for Alice’s purity, hears that his daughter has kissed and danced with Jimmy while he was out of town. This sends Shark Wicks into a rage, leading him into grabbing a gun and heading toward the Munroe farm; he is arrested and held with a high bond. Shark ends up having to tell the judge and the residents of the Pastures of Heaven that he never had any money. Jimmy is the dramatic foil character to Shark because the truth about Shark comes out and ruins his reputation in the valley. The reputation of Shark being a successful man comes crashing down around him because of Jimmy kissing his daughter Alice, the boy he hated. Steinbeck opens chapter four with the discovery of a baby along the roadside in town. The newborn is an ugly baby and is given the name Tularecito by Franklin Gomez who adopted him. Tularecito is mentally challenged but has an artistic gift. The new school teacher, Miss Morgan, is well liked by her students, mainly because she reads interesting stories in class. As Miss Morgan reads one particular story, Tularecito begins to believe he is a mythical character called gnome, and hardly encouraged by Miss Morgan and sets off to find his people. He stumbles upon the farm of Bert Munroe and begins to dig holes in search of his people. Burt Munroe, finds one of these holes one morning, starts to fill it back in. Tularecito sees Bert’s actions and attacks him. In the end, Tularecito’s violent outburst and mental retardation force him to be sent off to an asylum for the criminally insane. Bert Munroe is the dramatic foil character to Tularecito because he ends up sending him away. Bert did not physically send Tularecito to an asylum but he did fill back up the hole made by Tularecito which enraged the young man. Steinbeck's fifth story is about a woman named Helen Van Deventer. Helen, as Steinbeck explains, is “hungered for tragedy…” (55). Helen gives birth to a daughter named Hilda and is diagnosed as having mental problems and gets worse as she gets older. Helen decides to move to the Pastures of Heaven for a more peaceful and relaxing environment. Burt Munroe decides to pay a welcoming visit to the town’s newest resident. When Burt arrives, he is greeted by Hilda. Burt assumes the little girl may be trouble and continues to the house and is sent away by the house servant. Hilda escapes from her room the night of Burt’s visit, Helen grabs her deceased husbands gun and begins to look for Hilda. She is found shot by a stream with the gun beside her. It is claimed that she had committed suicide due to her...
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