Study Guide

Cannery Row Plot Analysis

By John Steinbeck

Plot Analysis


Home Sweet Home

Here 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 text introduces us to all the important characters and sets the stage for the little slice of life we're about to get.

Rising Action

Let's Party

Mack and the boys decide to throw Doc a party to show their appreciation for him. It's a big pain to scrape the money together—involving frogs, a jug of whisky, and some burned curtains—but finally they manage. Well, sort of.

Will Mack and the boys be able to pull this off? We're thinking no.


It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

The party is a disaster. (We're shocked.) The guests trash Doc's lab, Doc shows up too late, Cannery Row is mad at Mack, and even the dog is sick. Something better happen soon, or this is quickly going to become a tragedy.

Falling Action

The Curse is Lifted

Of course, Doc fixes it by healing Mack's dog. Mack and the boys come up with the bright idea of throwing Doc another party. Wait, but this one's going to be successful. How do we know that? Because everyone's working together to make it happen.


Last Friday Night

The party is killer and everyone, including Doc, has an awesome time. As Doc cleans up his lab he feels a twinge of something. Sadness? Nostalgia? A hangover?