Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 July 2021
The Epilogue reads Steinbeck’s episodic novel Cannery Row as an encapsulation of Steinbeck’s previous career. Cannery Row is a difficult novel to characterize, and hence it embodies the problem of how to read Steinbeck that we have encountered throughout. Steinbeck’s ambivalence over gender and race jostles with his desire to be a big-picture thinker contemplating the nature of human happiness. The episodic structure embodies the philosophy of the book, again making us realize how Steinbeck is a highly experimental writer whose career represents a series of aesthetic transformations in an ongoing frustration with the novel as a genre.