Intercalary Chapters In John Steinbeck's Cannery Row

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“And Mack said, ‘That Doc is a fine fellow. We ought to do something nice for him’” (16). With this quote, the whole plot of the book of Cannery Row is explained, for it has a simple one: Mack and the boys want to throw a party for Doc. But it is because of this simple plot that Steinbeck is able to freely portray... Despite Cannery Row’s lack of a complex story, Steinbeck’s use of shifting between intercalary chapters and plot chapters conveys the belief that man is more than just an animal because of their ability to have emotions. Throughout Cannery Row are intercalary chapters that help to build the world; on the surface, many people would think that these intercalary chapters have no purpose or even an impact on the book’s content, but the way that the book is structured, and the way pieces of the world of Cannery…show more content…
At the end of the book, “[Doc] wiped his eyes with the back of his back of his hand. And the white rats scampered and scrambled in their cages. And behind the glass the rattlesnakes lay still and stared into the space with their dusty frowning eyes” (185). In this particular scene, Steinbeck highlights the coexistence between man and animal; as Doc is overwhelmed with emotions, the rats scampers and the snakes stare into the empty space. This supports the argument that man is more than just an animal due to their ability to have emotions. “Cannery Row in Montague in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream” (5). Regarding Cannery Row’s structure, the word “poem” is very fitting. With his use of shifting between intercalary chapters and plot chapters, Steinbeck explores the depths of the human mind, and their ability to challenge their fate that was given by nature. Through these chapters is he able to convey the differences between man and animal, which, in the end, are dank
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