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Cannery Row

Cannery Row

by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row Analysis

Literary Devices in Cannery Row

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Could Cannery Row take place anywhere else? We say probably not. You can't separate the plot from the setting anymore than you could pick the dirt out of the chewing gum on the bottom of your shoe....

Narrator Point of View

Omniscient means "all-seeing," and that really describes our narrator here in Cannery Row. The guy knows all about what everyone's thinking and feeling—and he's got opinions on it. Let's take Lee...

Genre

Comedy When we talk about comedy as a genre, we're not just talking about the Marx Brothers (though that counts, too). In literature, a comedy might be knee-slappingly funny, or might just take a w...

Tone

You know the parents who think their little Johnnie is the sweetest little darling, even as he sets fire to the dog? That's how Steinbeck feels about the characters in Cannery Row. He's got a lot o...

Writing Style

Steinbeck uses a lot of different "registers" in Cannery Row. "Register" is a fancy word for what kind of speech or writing is appropriate when (check out a definition here). You guys know this. If...

What's Up With the Title?

The title isn't a huge mystery. Most of the book takes place in Cannery Row, so Cannery Row is a pretty safe choice for a name.But—bear with us—what if the book were called Doc's Party (okay, t...

What's Up With the Ending?

After the epic party, Doc wakes up, has a beer and a peanut butter sandwich (part of a balanced breakfast), and gets started on all the dishes. Right at the end of the book he recites a little more...

Tough-o-Meter

Steinbeck isn't exactly trying to make this hard for us. With some exceptions (and they're kind of big exceptions—we'll get there in a sec), Steinbeck uses pretty simple language to tell us a pre...

Plot Analysis

Home Sweet HomeHere in Cannery Row, Mack and the boys have just gotten a new home. Thanks to Lee Chong's generosity they're the proud proprietors of the Palace Flophouse and Grill. This part of the...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

All the residents of the Palace Flophouse agree that they ought to do something nice for Doc. Mack has a bright idea: they should throw a party for him.Mack and his band o' bros trek up to the Carm...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Business in the FrontMack and the boys plot to throw Doc a surprise party, then they work hard—or, as hard as they can, which involves some lying and stealing—to get the money and supplies they...

Trivia

Flagpole skating was a real thing. Seriously.(source)According to the Waymarking folks, the old Chinaman is based on a local ghost story. (source) Lee Chong's Heavenly Flower Grocery was based on...

Steaminess Rating

The closest thing you get to a sex scene is among some starfish and whatnot in a tide pool. Which isn't to say there aren't "sexual themes," as the rating boards say. One of the most important char...

Allusions

Greek mythology: The Graces (2.1)Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (12.1)Josh Billings (12.1-12.22), a 19th Century humoristBel Geddes (20.42), A set and industrial designer active in the 193...

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