Hell Yes, John Steinbeck

Posts tagged cannery row

It is the hour of the pearl—the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Doc is the owner and operator of the Western Biological Laboratory. Doc is rather small, deceptively small, for he is wiry and very strong and when passionate anger comes on him he can be very fierce. He wears a beard and his face is half Christ and half satyr and his face tells the truth. It is said that he has helped many a girl out of one trouble and into another. Doc has the hands of a brain surgeon, and a cool warm mind. Doc tips his hat to dogs as he drives by and the dogs look up and smile at him. He can kill anything for need but he could not even hurt a feeling for pleasure. He has one great fear—that of getting his head wet, so that summer or winter he ordinarily wears a rain hat. He will wade in a tide pool up to the chest without feeling damp, but a drop of rain water on his head makes him panicky…Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and change it for you to a kind of wisdom. His mind had no horizon—and his sympathy had no warp. He could talk to children, telling them very profound things so that they understood. He lived in a world of wonders, of excitement. He was concupiscent as a rabbit and gentle as hell. Everyone who knew him was indebted to him. And everyone who thought of him thought next, ‘I really must do something nice for Doc.’

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Google Doodle for John Steinbeck’s 112th Birthday (February 27, 2014): Cannery Row

While he ate his sandwich and sipped his beer, a bit of conversation came back to him. Blaisedell, the poet, had said to him, ‘You love beer so much. I’ll bet some day you’ll go in and order a beer milk shake.’ It was a simple piece of foolery but it had bothered Doc ever since. He wondered what a beer milk shake would taste like. The idea gagged him but he couldn’t let it alone. It cropped up every time he had a glass of beer. Would it curdle the milk? Would you add sugar? It was like a shrimp ice cream. If a man ordered a beer milk shake, he thought, he’d better do it in a town where he wasn’t known. But then, a man with a beard, ordering a beer milk shake in a town where he wasn’t known - they might call the police. A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (via fortunenglory)

Real Places in Literature

narrativemag:

Ed Rickett's Lab - Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Doc and his lab from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row were based on Steinbeck’s dear friend Ed Rickett and Rickett’s business, Pacific Biological Laboratories (shown left). The lab still stands today and is a fixture on Cannery Row Avenue in Monterey, CA.

(Image: Holistic Biology)

The eighth child was named Hazel before the mother got it through her head that Hazel was a boy and by that time she was used to the name and never bothered to change it. Hazel grew up—did four years in grammar school, four years in reform school, and didn’t learn anything in either place. Reform schools are supposed to teach viciousness and criminality but Hazel didn’t pay enough attention. He came out of reform school as innocent of viciousness as he was of fractions and long division.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (via saltforsalt)

A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyways. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave.

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck (via princesspineapplella)

Everything that comes out of the human mouth is poison.

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck (via d3vilyouknow)

Truth Be Told…

itshardbeinghuman:

From John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row:

Once when Doc was at the University of Chicago he had love trouble and he had worked too hard. He thought it would be nice to take a very long walk. He put on a little knapsack and he walked through Indiana and Kentucky and North Carolina and Georgia clear to Florida. He walked among farmers and mountain people, among the swamp people and fishermen. And everywhere people asked him why he was walking through the country.
Because he loved true things he tried to explain. He said he was nervous and besides he wanted to see the country, smell the ground and look at grass and birds and trees, to savor the country, and there was no other way to do it save on foot. And people didn’t like him for telling the truth. They scowled, or shook and tapped their heads, they laughed as though they knew it was a lie and they appreciated a liar. And some, afraid for their daughters or their pigs, told him to move on, to get going, just not to stop near their place if he knew what was good for him.
And so he stopped trying to tell the truth. He said he was doing it on a bet—that he stood to win a hundred dollars. Everyone liked him then and believed him. They asked him in to dinner and gave him a bed and they put lunches up for him and wished him good luck and thought he was a hell of a fine fellow. Doc still loved true things but he knew it was not a general love and it could be a very dangerous mistress.
It’s all fine to say, ‘Time will heal everything, this too shall pass away. People will forget’—and things like that when you are not involved, but when you are there is no passage of time, people do not forget and you are in the middle of something that does not change.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (via seanweidman)

It was deeply a part of Lee’s kindness and understanding that man’s right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row (via qwertycorns)

ofthefloatingworld:

“He’s been building that boat for seven years that I know of… Every time he gets it nearly finished he changes it and starts over again. I think he’s nuts. Seven years on a boat.”

Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boots. “You don’t understand,” he said gently. “Henri loves boats but he’s afraid of the ocean.”

“What’s he want a boat for then?” Hazel demanded.

“He likes boats,” said Doc. “But suppose he finishes his boat. Once it’s finished people will say, ‘Why don’t you ever put it in the water?’ Then if he puts it in the water, he’ll have to go out in it, and he hates the water. So you see, he never finishes the boat - so he doesn’t ever have to launch it.”

- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

pulpfictions:

Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boots. “You don’t understand,” he said gently. “Henri loves boats but he’s afraid of the ocean.”
- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

pulpfictions:

Doc was sitting on the ground pulling off his rubber boots. “You don’t understand,” he said gently. “Henri loves boats but he’s afraid of the ocean.”

- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

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