Steinbeck Reflects on Reality



On the long journey doubts were often my companions. I’ve always admired those reporters who can descend on an area, talk to key people, ask questions, take samplings of opinions, and then set down an orderly report very like a road map. I envy this technique and at the same time do not trust it as a mirror of reality. I feel that there are too may realities. What I set down here is true until someone else passes that way and rearranges the world in his own style. In literary criticism the critic has no choice but to make over the victim of his attention into something the size and shape of himself.

John Steinbeck from Travels with Charley

A recommended read for any Steinbeck admirer, fan of literary reflection and autobiographical works, or the enthused reader of high quality ‘on the road’ texts. Steinbeck sets out in a camper to rediscover America, which he believed had changed and that he had lost touch with it. Steinbeck’s use of language, descriptions and imagery of the unfolding landscape and the hubbub of cities are a testimony to his keen observations and his style of writing.



3 thoughts on “Steinbeck Reflects on Reality

  1. This is a book I’ve read and reread many times over the years. One day I would like to retrace his route, to see how America has changed since his journey. I suppose I would need a makeshift camper. And I would have to bring my dog as well, of course.

  2. I’ve never read this one. I wonder if I have it on my bookshelves. Going to go check. If not, I’m headed to the bookstore. Love the last bit about remaking the “victim” into himself (the critic). Goes well with the post today at 101Books where he talks about symbolism and its analysis, quoting from a survey of famous authors. Thanks, Samir!

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