Chapters 10-17: The Threads Converge

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Chapters 10-17: The Threads Converge

Post by Mr. Goodrich on Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:42 pm

I'm way behind on posting this. I apologize. I plan to post the next section's questions tomorrow. In this section the threads begin to come together. The characters which were watered and grown in disparate places make their ways to one another and begin to interact. Continue to think about the relationship between parents and children, the idea of fatalism. Are we predetermined by fate, genetics, upbringing, circumstances so that our freedom to choose is an illusion? Can the struggles of the main characters in the novel be attributed at least partly to one or more of these things? Here are some questions to get you thinking more deeply about this section of the text.


  • What do you think of the relationship between Charles and Adam now? Are they close? Is there still something preventing them from being close? (10)


  • Why do you think Adam so quickly attaches to Cathy? (11)


  • Compare the characters of Cathy and Charles? Why is it that Charles doesn't trust Cathy while it seems everyone else does? Is there something behind both of them having a scar on their foreheads? (11)


  • Is Cathy good for Adam? (13)


  • This novel is full of what could be considered tangents from the main story (e.g., Olive's story in chapter 14, Tom's couch-coach in chapter 15, the meteorite in chapter 17). How are they related? Is Steinbeck just a rambling author or do these tangents add something to the story? This is more of a question to consider as we continue.


  • This novel is from the Modern period of American literature which inherits a great deal from the Realist period. Essentially what this means is that Steinbeck attempts to give us a very good representation of what life in the Salinas Valley was like during this period. Because of this, we could certainly spend time exploring the worldviews or mindsets present in the communities. That would typically be a second or third read exploration but for now I'll just strike the match by asking you to briefly think about the roles of immigrants and women in this society. After having a general idea of this, think about the characters of Liza, Cathy, and Lee. How is Liza's relationship with Samuel unique? Do you think it is healthy? Is Cathy just a rebel? Is Lee a coward? There is so much that could be explored here.


  • Do you think Cathy is a monster? Is she running towards or away from something?


Adam is left in a desperate place. Surprisingly, this is still building toward the knot of the story where we are faced with the essential issue of the text. As always, feel free to post your questions, confusions, thoughts, favorite passages, etc here.

Mr. Goodrich
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