Cannery Row Materialism Analysis

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Kirk Bauer English I Section 3287 Diane Mannone 11/22/09 Cannery Row – Materialism vs. Harmony In the novel Cannery Row, author John Steinbeck comments continually throughout the book on how the pursuit of materialism is almost always the cause of disharmony. Taking place so close to the disaster of the Great Depression, the book explores an area of life that was still sensitive to many people. The tone of the book reflects the opinion that pursuing material things leads to unhappiness and problems while the vagrant life frees one of those desires and the pain of loss when life takes them away. There are examples from both the economic and the natural worlds as the natural world represents the furthest extreme from the capitalist…show more content…
harmony runs very strong in Cannery Row. While economically on the lowest end of society, Mack and the boys live with a happiness and harmony that many who acquire great wealth never have. In a way, it is a rebellion against the sadness caused by the Great Depression. These characters are not going to let material cares and wants get in the way of life. Many people reverse the idea and believe life is material cares and wants. These men understand this distinction and shortcut their way to true happiness by skipping the fruitless chase of more and more. They have enough. So much in fact that they are willing to share everything they get because there is no attachment. Without attachment there is no longing or pain when whatever it is runs out. Money, power, fame, success and the pursuit of these things for selfish ambition are what Cannery Row represents to the naked eye. Capitalism at it’s most raw. But that’s not real life on Cannery Row. The real LIFE is among the residents and the vagrants that have transcended their surroundings in favor of a more communistic way of life. People might look at them and think they are worse off but they would be wrong and Mack and the boys would just as soon leave those people in the

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