Cannery Row

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Novel by John Steinbeck, published in 1945.

On Cannery Row in Monterey, California, live Doc, the sympathetic, wise, lonely owner of the Western Biological Laboratory; Dora, the tough-minded but warm-hearted madam of a brothel, the Bear Flag Restaurant; Lee Chong, the shrewd, kind proprietor of a remarkably well-stocked grocery store; and Mack and his five happy-go-lucky friends, compounded of “Virtues and graces and laziness and zest.” Since they like and admire Doc, these pleasant, philosophic bums engage in a great expedition to catch frogs for which Doc will pay and thus finance a surprise party they plan for him. Fortified by liquor got from Lee, they begin their party at Doc's laboratory, of which they accidentally make a shambles and from which their innumerable frogs escape long before Doc arrives. Ashamed of the disaster, the men settle into gloom until months later, forgiven by Lee and Doc, and with Dora's aid, they plan a birthday party for Doc, who locks up his valuables for a party that has “all the best qualities of a riot and a night on the barricades.”

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Steinbeck (1902—1968) American novelist

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