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Cannery Row

Cannery Row


by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row Home Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

Then someone threw out a datura root and the thick fleshy tree grew up and the great white bells hung down over the boiler door and at night the flowers smelled of love and excitement, an incredibly sweet and moving odor.

In 1935 Mr. and Mrs. Sam Malloy moved into the boiler. [ . . . ] True, if you came in through the fire door you had to get down on your hands and knees, but once in there was head room in the middle and you couldn't want a dryer, warmer place to stay (8.1-8.2)

Usually we think of homes as the opposite of nature. But here, even though it's dry and warm, the boiler isn't suitable to be a home until it's been gussied up with flowers and plants. Without all the plants, it would just be a rusty old hulk.

Quote #8

The kind of women who put papers on shelves and had little towels like that instinctively distrusted and disliked Mack and the boys. Such women knew that they were the worst threats to a home, for they offered ease and thought and companionship as opposed to neatness, order, and properness (15.12)

Mack and the boys can tell the Captain's wife wouldn't like them just from seeing the paper on the shelves and the little towels. What is it about those things? Don't they just make things pretty (and easier to clean)? And, come on, aren't little towels actually a sign of hospitality? Ooh—maybe that's the problem. Little towels are a sign of hospitality, but they aren't actually hospitality.

Quote #9

Henri had been living in and building his boat for ten years. During that time he had been married twice and had promoted a number of semi-permanent liaisons. And all of these young women had left him for the same reason. The seven-foot cabin was too small for two people. They resented bumping their heads when they stood up and they definitely felt the need for a toilet (22.5)

Hmm. Henri's place is too small for two and eventually the ladies leave. While Doc's bedroom can seat 40, Henri's place only really fits one. We're thinking this difference has something to do with their personalities.

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