| Quote #4
And perhaps that might be the way to write this book—to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves (0.3)
So, Steinbeck is telling us that this book is going to be like a bunch of slimy, wiggling stories all collected in a jar. This is the way Doc works, collecting things, carefully preserving them, then sending them away to his customers. In other words: don't expect much of a plot. Just worms.
| Quote #5
The Word is a symbol and a delight which sucks up men and scenes, trees, plants, factories, and Pekinese. Then the Thing becomes the Word and back to Thing again, but warped and woven in a fantastic pattern (2.1)
All right, we know this is a tough one, but it doesn't get any harder. Here, Steinbeck is talking about what happens when you try to take something in the real world and write about it. (That would be the Word sucking stuff up). When you read about it, you get something like the original Thing, but it's a little bit different, too. It's been changed by the Word. In other words, go see it for yourself, you big dummy.
| Quote #6
The Word sucks up Cannery Row, digests it and spews it out, and the Row has taken the shimmer of the green world and the sky-reflecting seas (2.1)
Doesn't this remind you a little of how the canneries work? Sucking up the sea life, packing it into little cans, and then sending it off … to be eaten, digested, and excreted. He has a way with words, our Johnny.