Cannery Row Quest Analysis

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Cannery Row involves many instances of characters leaving and entering the town. When seen from a broad perspective, these journeys can be classified as quests. Although the search is not for a Holy Grail and the enemies are certainly not as vicious, the instances fulfill the requirements set forth by Thomas Foster. Mack and the boys embark on an adventure to collect frogs and endure hardships eventually leading to an unexpected meeting and the arrival of a pet. The situations that Mack goes through show parallels with the traditional aspects of a quest which leads the reader to understand the significance of the dog that he brings home/.
According to Foster, a quest consists of five things. “ (a) a quester, (b) a place to go, © a stated reason to go there, (d) challenges and trials en route, and (e) a real reason to go there” (Foster 3). The first requirement starts off with the questers being Mack and the boys. Their desired location is Carmel Valley where Mack talks about frogs and claims that “there’s fifteen hundred in one flock” (Steinback 19). The stated reason is to fetch frogs for Doc for five cents
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The novel states, “The real reason for a quest is always self- knowledge” (Foster 3). So what knowledge do Mack and the boys gain? Mack meets the captain and a side of him unknown to the reader comes out. Although the boys were collecting the frogs in order to surprise Doc, Mack’s attention to the captain’s dog brings to light his compassionate qualities and leads the reader to think of him as a dynamic character with layers. So much so that the Hazel uses a hyperbole stating, “I bet Mack could of been president of the U.S. if he wanted.” The boys are then escorted to the farmhouse which is the first house they’ve been in outside of Cannery Row. It shows a glimpse of a lifestyle they had not been exposed to
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