How much do we know about how he got into the argument which led to his killing another man? At one point, he says he actually likes the guy that he killed. But the fellow put a knife in him, and he responded by picking up a shovel and bashing him over the head and killing him.
In this paper I connect the moral perspectives of author John Steinbeck and philosopher George Santayana. The two perspectives are aligned in the attempt to square pursuits of conscience, itself an instrument of blame, with the blameless existences confronted in natural pursuits. Reconciliation of conscience and existence is achieved, according to this moral naturalism, through a way of life that is uniquely free in its ability to pursue interests: Something of the reverse might be said of philosopher George Santayana whose own noted literary prowess tended to complicate the reception of his major philosophical contributions.
The two moral perspectives are aligned in the attempt to square pursuits of conscience, itself an instrument of blame, with the blameless existences confronted in natural pursuits. Notwithstanding this connection some obvious differences between Steinbeck and Santayana must be acknowledged at the outset.
Santayana, the Arnoldian lover of culture would have been rough company for Steinbeck, the socialist-leaning, everyman sympathist. And it is true: Santayana was not one to celebrate or look favorably upon the economically disadvantaged and disenfranchised, while Steinbeck maintained an abiding kindred sympathy for the plight of each.
Such sympathy is built into the ontological system in which Santayana frames his most central claims. Santayana held that, under the gaze of eternity, all perspectives are equally legitimate and have their certification in a realm of eternal essences, an ontological category of existential character-embodiments.
Lest the significance of this democratic sympathy be thought to be lost in esotericism one must attend to the Santayana who opened his introductory text to this ontology with the Steinbeckian sentiment: Neither should it be thought that Steinbeck was some political tool of the Left.
Understanding the kinship that I shall be examining here thus requires, in part, that we consider some of the deeper features of the cultural contexts of the subjects in question. Steinbeck came to cultural attention in the thirties along with other authors such as Erskine Caldwell and James T.
Farrell, each of whom have been characterized by critics as taking fiction in a direction of documentary naturalism.
As an alternative to the existential disillusionment of the lost generation expatriates, this style of writing was a means of bringing human experience to social, rather than to individual consciousness.
The naturalist class of authors among which Steinbeck can be counted applied an ameliorative compress to ensconced twentieth century problems centrally involving the alienated individual. Steinbeck was always deeply uncomfortable with the political. To Steinbeck, a work of fiction was not worth writing unless it was single-heartedly channeled at the end of a long period of absorption.
Fiction dominated by overt political agendas too easily carries the taint of intent without achieving an articulation of truths that edifying art worthy of the name achieves. It is notable that except for a final uneven book that had been written in haltering fashion over a series of years, Santayana never devoted sustained attention to the subject.
He produced poetry in his early writing career, and after some academic productions lived the better part of his publishing life in free contemplation, although never in disconnection with the intellectual climate of his times.
Santayana treated the alienating problems besetting modern individuals with a variegated, antique gaze, synthesizing the contributions of the Ancient Pre-Socratics, Stoics, and the Modern Rationalist Spinoza.
Hence his naturalism was an anomaly within the philosophic context of the twentieth century. Worse yet for his reputation, Santayana loudly proclaimed himself a materialist when it was and still is commonplace to recognize the supposed, obvious incoherence of the position.
His materialism was part of a fourfold mythic typology.
The natural world is the conditioning backdrop of moral human dramas, and often haunts them, as with the alternating chapters in The Grapes of Wrath. But even in haunting, the material world becomes the abiding source of human understanding, of being symbolically translated into the various human narratives that encounter its obstinate resistance.
As I shall next explore in detail, the work of Steinbeck and Santayana shares a subtle and seldom recognized naturalistic truth: Steinbeck, a hearkener of literary giants of the past, exhibited a prodigious appreciation for realities of participants removed from the main plot.
In his famous social commentary, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck proclaimed U.S. Highway 66 the "Mother Road." Steinbeck's classic novel and the film re-creation of the epic odyssey immortalized Route 66 in the American consciousness. The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in The book won the National Book Award  and Pulitzer Prize  for fiction, and it was cited prominently when Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in John Steinbeck's classic novel 'The Grapes of Wrath' gave a voice to the tens of thousands of Americans affected by the Dust Bowl tragedy in Midwestern farming states. The novel and the subsequent film version have remained a part of American consciousness over the ensuing decades.
Such naturalism is expansive, cosmic, intent upon attuning audiences to the fleeting folly of local, present projects. In Cannery Row, a book written partly in exorcism of the demands placed on Steinbeck from the enormous reception of Grapes, there is an early contrast chapter providing a stunning expression of this cosmic naturalism.
The word is a symbol and a delight which sucks up men and scenes, trees, plants, factories, and Pekinese. Then the Thing becomes the Word and back to Thing again, but warped and woven into a fantastic pattern.
Perhaps he is evil balanced and held suspended by good—an Asiatic planet held to its orbit by the pull of Lao Tze and held away from Lao Tze by the centrifugality of abacus and cash register—Lee Chong suspended, spinning, whirling among groceries and ghosts…Mack and the boys, too, spinning in their orbits.
They are the Virtues, the Graces, the Beauties of the hurried mangled craziness of Monterey and the cosmic Monterey where men in fear and hunger destroy their stomachs in the fight to secure certain food, where men hungering for love destroy everything lovable about them…Our Father who art in nature, who has given the gift of survival to the coyote, the common brown rat, the English sparrow, the house fly and the moth, must have a great and overwhelming love for no-goods and blots-on-the-town and bums, and Mack and the boys…Our Father who art in nature.The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was and remains an accurate portrayal of these times, and this section details the inspirations for the novel and subsequent film.
Among the countless travelers on Route 66 was charismatic musician Woody Guthrie. All the Light We Cannot See is a novel written by American author Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner on May 6, It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction..
Set in occupied France during World War II, the novel centers on a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths eventually cross. Keywords California, John Steinbeck, stereotypes, Grapes of Wrath, Oklahoma 0 Like 0 Tweet John Steinbeck explores many themes in "The Grapes of Wrath"; such as, the importance of avoiding stereotypes/labels and the need to share what we have with others.4/5(4).
A particularly vivid passage from John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath illustrates the underlying logic of stigmatization. What follows is the conversation between two gas station attendants who have just sold fuel to the Joads after their entry into California.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath first edition The first edition of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was published in by The Viking Press in New York. Steinbeck uses a lot of stereotyping in his novella, ‘Of Mice and Men.’ He uses Crooks, a black man, to show how black people were treated in the s and he uses Curley’s wife to show how insignificant women were in the s.