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.