Can values and morality have different meanings? It is not necessary that values and morality may travel in parallel directions always. John Steinbeck reminds people about this fact with the help of his famous novel Cannery Row published in 1945. This paper analyses the relationships between the characters Mack, Doc and Henry in the novel Cannery Row to prove that values and morality can often been travel in opposite directions…
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Even though Henri claimed to be French he was not so in reality. In other words, Henri is described as cunning character in this novel. Steinbeck tells us that Mack and the boys can be viewed as antisocial elements by a society; but in reality these antisocial elements also hold some positive elements. Society may consider them as "sons of bitches", but Steinbeck likes to labels them as "the Virtues, the Graces, and the Beauties of the hurried mangled craziness of Monterey" (Steinbeck p.18). Steinbeck tries to judge them based on what they truly are rather than what they do. In his opinion, what they do cannot be taken as a measure to label them as antisocial elements since they are not doing any immoral activities intentionally. Steinbeck blames society for the making of Mack and the boys as antisocial elements. In his opinion, when people are deprived of freedom and virtue, they may engage in antisocial behaviors. Doc is portrayed as a loveable character in this novel. Even aggressive people like Mack and his company were very much attracted by the personal behaviors of Doc. In the novel, Cannery Row, Mack and his friends are trying to do something nice to their loyal friend Doc, who actually demanded nothing from them. The intentions of Mack and his friends were positive; but the Thank you party organized by Mack and his allies ended up in a disaster because of their own fault. In other words, Mack and his friends tried to demonstrate the value of friendship; however, they failed to demonstrate in an ethical manner. Steinbeck reminds us that even successful people in this world may have both bad health and bad souls because they "tear themselves to pieces with ambition, nervousness, and covetousness"(Steinbeck, 133). In his opinion, it is better to live naturally rather than artificially. In other words, keeping something in the mind and doing something exactly opposite to that cannot be labeled as a moral activity. Of course by doing so, a person can uphold the integrity of values publicly, but it should be remembered that he is doing something opposite to his instincts. For example, in our society we can see so many people who admire celebrities publicly and criticize them privately. Such activities cannot be labeled as moral activities even though it can be perceived as valuable activities. According to Steinbeck, the essence of humanity is living naturally based on instincts. In that sense, Mack and the boys can be considered as successful men, since they tried to live naturally. “Henri loves boats, but he is afraid of the oceans"(Steinbeck, p.37). Steinbeck tries to ridicule the attitudes of the public through these words. A boat is intended to use in oceans. If it stays on land, it may become useless. The utility of the boat can be exploited only if it is used in water or ocean. Steinbeck compares people who are living unnaturally to a boat staying on land. There are many people who try to live in accordance with the social norms even though their instincts are against it. For example, there are many people who like to have more than one wife at the same time. But the social norm is to have only one wife at a time. Even though, people like to have more than one wife, they forced to live with one wife alone. Such things are upholding social values, but it cannot be
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