By Barbara A. Heavilin
Celebrating the short lifetime of a tender student devoted to Steinbeck reviews, this assortment gathers essays from quite a few vantage issues together with aesthetic, feminist, moral, and comparative views. integrated during this quantity are works by way of acclaimed poets, in addition to insightful readings of a bit identified early brief tale and an unsuccessful novel by means of Steinbeck.
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Additional resources for A John Steinbeck Reader: Essays in Honor of Stephen K. George
The forces and values that shape one’s state of mind can only be comprehended by the individual him/herself. By focusing on Hawley’s dialogue, Steinbeck takes a postmodern look at the eclectic Chapter 3 15 mind of an individual and the discourse which frames its voice. If the voice of the novel is misunderstood, Hawley’s discourse is ignored and the novel becomes disorganized. Yet if the voice is appreciated, the reader can find the sources which frame his/her own struggle through Hawley’s fragmented language.
She was accompanied, too, by the crowd’s obscene jeers and taunts. But this was not the “big show” for which the crowd waited: The crowd was waiting for the white man who dared to bring his white child to school. And here he came along the guarded walk, a tall man dressed in light gray, leading his frightened child by the hand. . The muscles of his cheeks stood out from the clenched jaws, a man afraid who by his will held his fears in check as a great rider directs a panicked horse. (257) Accompanying the scene is a cacophony of voices as one person after another shouts obscenities, “the words bestial and filthy and degenerate” and each followed by “howls and roars and whistles of applause (257–58).
Most of the leading Steinbeck scholars of that day concurred, condemning Steinbeck’s last novel “for its lack of realism, Ethan for his implausibility, the language as silly, pretentious, and unnatural, . . Steinbeck’s treatment of American moral decline as superficial, and its setting as unrealized” (Kaspareck 31). As Joseph Fontenrose pithily put it, “Ethan Hawley is improbable, and so is his story” (137). What were Saul Bellow, Edward Weeks, and Lewis Gannett thinking when they proclaimed on the dust jacket that The Winter of Our Discontent is “the finest thing Steinbeck has written since The Grapes of Wrath” and “one of his best”?
A John Steinbeck Reader: Essays in Honor of Stephen K. George by Barbara A. Heavilin