Mack In John Steinbeck's Cannery Row Essay

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Steinbeck portrays Mack as being the most successful character in Cannery Row. Mack is living a happy, relaxing and optimistic life, which Steinbeck defines as success. Unlike other characters living in the Row, such as Doc, Mr. and Mrs. Malloy, Joey’s father and William, Mack doesn’t value material gain and social status, which makes him content and successful. Even though Mack’s wife leaves him and he has neither money nor a job, he can always figure out a way to please himself and feel contented under those horrible conditions. After Mack moves into the Palace Flophouse with other boys, they make the shabby place into an “overfurnished” (40) but comfortable and organized “home.” Mack and the boys only work intermittently to earn just enough money to keep up their living. It is surprising how simply Mack can find those trivial enjoyments from daily life and how simply he can…show more content…
Mr. and Mrs. Malloy “[are] happy and contented” (48) about living in their boiler at first as they can’t afford a house. They even start to operate “a steady small business” for renting large pipes as “sleeping quarters” (48). However, after Mr. Malloy becomes a landlord, which brings the family certain status and wealth, Mrs. Malloy woefully turns into a greedy, materialistic, and even nonsensical person who wants curtains for a house without windows (48-49). The “fortune” does not provide the couple more happiness but brings about “a number of fights” (145). Mrs. Malloy “[cries] all the time” (145) now but Mr. Malloy no longer “[holds] her in his arms [or comforts] her” (49). Although Mack does not obtain any money or social status, unlike the Malloys, he lives happily with the boys in the Palace Flophouse. As the readers can see in the difference between Mack and the Malloys’ lives, success is not related to how wealthy the person

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