Cannery Row | Study Guide

John Steinbeck

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Cannery Row | Chapter 32 | Summary

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Summary

Doc wakes up the morning after the party to survey the damage to his house. He gets some beer from Lee Chong who asks if he had a good time, and Doc responds, saying, "Good time!" He begins to clean up while he listens to Gregorian music. While he washes dishes, Doc recites a poem. The rats move around in their cage, and the snakes lie still in theirs.

Analysis

There is a quiet resignation in the final chapter of the novel. After the raucous party, Doc finds himself alone, again, to clean up the mess. He contemplates poetry and music as he handles the dirty dishes, accepting both art and reality equally. The vulnerability of the rats and the potential danger of the snakes is the final image the author leaves with readers, representing the opposite possibilities in life that Doc seems to balance and acknowledge without judgment.

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