Cover via Goodreads.
Rating: 4/5 stars.
“‘How can you tell?’ Uncle John demanded. ‘What’s to keep ever’thing from stoppin’; all the folks from jus’ gittin’ tired an’ layin’ down?’
‘Hard to say,’ she said. ‘Ever’thing we do – seems to me is aimed right at goin’ on. Seems that way to me. Even gettin’ hungry – even bein’ sick; some die, but the rest is tougher. Jus’ try to live the day, jus’ the day.'”
Through his telling of the Okies’ struggle to survive the Dust Bowl, John Steinbeck temporarily made me a misanthrope. While I was reading the book I once annotated “why must mankind suck so much”. The Grapes of Wrath, for some, may not be an easy book to stomach due to the horrific hardships the Joads had to handle – not only from their environment and their ill-fortune, but also because of the cruelty of their fellow man. Continue reading
Cover via Goodreads.
I feel like it’s cliche to say that The Winter of Our Discontent is well-written. If you’ve taken ninth grade high-school English, I’m confident you’ve encountered John Steinbeck at least once. There’s no doubt he’s a fantastic writer. Of Mice of Men or East of Eden, anyone?
However, The Winter of Our Discontent was not as fluid as Of Mice and Men nor did it possess the sheer strength in characterization or plot as East of Eden. It may be my underdeveloped adolescent mind at work here, but I found the book a bit banal.
It’s about a middle-aged grocery clerk living in New England during the 1960’s who struggles to appease his wife’s wish for higher social standing as well as his children’s constant desire for material goods. The plot itself did not present anything mind-blowing – the underlying theme of morality made me think though. In fact, the entire book seemed fixated on that one premise: Ethan Hawley’s deteriorating ethical standards and the result of his descent into dishonor.
Also, there are a lot of spectacular quotes in this book. For example:
“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
“When a condition or a problem becomes too great, humans have the protection of not thinking about it. But it goes inward and minces up with a lot of other things already there and what comes out is discontent and uneasiness, guilt and a compulsion to get something -anything – before it is all gone.”