Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef.John Steinbeck's exhilarating passion for his native Monterey in California is evident throughout Cannery Row. Doc the scientist goes about his daily business collecting starfish, octopi and abalone from the tide pools for the Western Biological Laboratory. Lee Chong keeps a watchful eye on his store and a closer eye on Mack and the boys who live in the Palace Flophouse. Dora and her girls at the Bear Flag brothel work hard to accommodate the men coming in from the fishing boats and every evening at dusk the old Chinaman walks through the lot and across the beach not to return until dawn.
Steinbeck's fabulous descriptions of the marine life that inhabit the 'brown and blue and China red' rock pools of Monterey are echoed by the stories of those who inhabit Cannery Row. Humane, moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Cannery Row is one of the finest American novels.
The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. John Steinbeck, Cannery Row