Cannery Row ONLY Chapters 19-29 summary and analysis

Every few chapters need to be summarized and analyzed in this format:

Summary & Analysis(can be separated): ONE SUMMARY EVERY 3-5 CHAPTERS eg: summary-19-23,summary-24-26,summary-27-29

Below every summary:
Theme: – needs to be more than one word theme



MINIMUM 1500 WORDS (no maximum)

Cannery Row- Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2

Summary & Analysis: In these chapters, a lot of symbolism and implicit meaning is explained from Cannery Row being more than just a place using sensory descriptions of the city to describe the experience of living there as well as seeing the city as a whole. Steinbeck ends the prologue questioning how he should write the book but assures himself that he should “let the stories crawl in by themselves”. Through this prologue he explains the story being based on the reality of the normal workers of Cannery as the elements of the community itself is what brings the story to life. Steinbeck emphasizes later on how the words of the novel mean so much more as it has strong implicit meaning through different representations and meanings. For instance it describes the characters into detail, “Lee Chong is more than a Chinese grocer. He must be. Perhaps he is evil balanced and held suspended by good”. Through this Steinbeck is explaining that there is more to Lee Chong as he is a balance of good and evil. This is similar to the Taoist belief of the Yin and Yang. This belief is confirmed as Steinbeck compares him to Lao Tse, the first philosopher of Taoism. In addition, they contrast Lee Chong to Mack and the boys. Mack and the boys are seen as the complete opposite of Lee Chong as they are the “thieves, rascals, bums” to society. However ironically they are also “Virtues, the Graces, the Beauties” and have been given those attributes through their “Father who art in nature.”. This description goes according to the Christian belief as they are seen as sinful by the society yet they are of good traits through God. The idea of community and spirituality is conveyed in these chapters through the symbolism of the characters of Cannery Row as they represent different religious beliefs. Through the chapters, Steinbeck informs the audience of the implicit meanings of the words of the novel as even the characters themselves mean more than just what they are within the novel.

Setting: Cannery Row, California, 1945.(Originally known as Ocean View Avenue) Third person

omniscient point of view through the narrator.

Tone: All knowing, mystical storytelling tone

Theme: Community representing the city as a whole


  • Mack and the boys had additional symbolism of the ideal people as they don’t go according to the needs and wants of society but are able to survive with their survival skills being similar to the wild animals.
  • The community of Cannery Row as the city itself as Steinbeck decided to “let the stories crawl in by themselves” the characters are the symbolism of the city as without them, the story cannot be written.
  • The words of the book are also said to be symbols themselves as they “suck up men and scenes, trees, plants, factories and Pekinese” as both the “word” and the “Thing” being their meaning intertwine as in some instances through the story the words will have literal meaning whereas other times the words will be symbolic


An entire imagery can be seen with the people of Cannery Row being creatures having their different ways of survival. They contrast Lee Chong to be the typical man of society driven by ambition. He balances out his past with his present time as he goes all the way to Cannery to make a living whereas Mack and the boys are seen as the ideal as they did not go according to societal norms and are able to have a good life without having specific goals. Through them, laziness is beautified as it is seen as a way to live more efficiently. In addition, the whole prologue itself describing Cannery Row on the first page gives an imagery of the whole city describing Cannery Row to be “a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream” and to be“gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses.”