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The winter of our discontent by John…
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The winter of our discontent (original 1961; edition 1961)

by John Steinbeck

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3,390651,600 (3.93)1 / 229
Member:Jan7Smith
Title:The winter of our discontent
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:New York : The Viking Press, 1961.
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Read
Rating:****
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The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (1961)

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Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
I very much enjoyed this novel. A study in morality, it is both humorous and heart breaking. Steinbeck is a true master of his art. An absolutely perfect piece. ( )
  CareBear36 | Mar 19, 2015 |
While the Hawley family was once Long Island aristocracy, Ethan Allen Hawley's father lost the family fortune. Thus Ethan is a grocery store clerk, much to the embarrassment of his wife and children. While Ethan values his integrity and character, while his family merely long for the days of their prosperity. Eventually, Ethan yields to outside pressures and gradually erodes his moral stance in order to advance his in the community and financial means. Although he gains an influential position over time, he sees his new morality reflected in his son's actions. This novel was Steinbeck's last.
  ktoonen | Feb 9, 2015 |
Description from back of book

"Ethan Hawley, a descendant of proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wie is restless, his teenage children are troubled and disoriented, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards."

My comments

I love John Steinbeck. This book is no exception. This book is a powerful indictment of middle class materialism, of the emptiness and hurt that is necessary to reach the 'top' ranks of society, and the moral depravity that is necessary to get there. Ethan starts out as a morally superior person, who is forced - through love of his family, and the wish to give them what they most desire (materially) - sells himself out for monetary gain and social position.

I also loved the writing style of this book. Ethan's narrative, while sometimes rambling, was brilliant to read, and in it, Steinbeck struck at the heart of many of America's ills. Truly brilliant book. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
Ethan Allen Hawley is a former member of Long Island's aristocratic class. His family can trace its roots all the way back to the time of the Pilgrims; and he can count among his illustrious forebears sea-captains and men of property. He is an heir to the upright New England tradition.

Due to Ethan's late father losing the family fortune, Ethan now works as a grocery clerk in the same grocery store that his family once owned. With the decline in their social status, Ethan's wife, Mary, becomes restless, and his two teenage children are eager for the material comforts which Ethan can no longer provide. They resent their mediocre social and economic status, and do not value the honesty and integrity that Ethan struggles to maintain in the face of a morally corrupt society.

Growing increasingly jaded by what he views as the underhandedness, cheating and shady dealings that seems to permeate his town with regard to the acquisition of money and success, Ethan, in a moment of personal moral crisis, decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous code of ethics - confident that he will not become corrupted by his actions.

I did enjoy reading this book, although I must admit that initially I found the character of Ethan Allen Hawley slightly annoying. I eventually got more used to his manner and by about halfway through the book I was caught up in the flow of the plot. Overall, I thought that this was an interesting story. In my opinion, it certainly deserves to be classified as a classic, although personally, I may have preferred reading some of John Steinbeck's other works. I give this book an A! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Jul 29, 2014 |
Three years after reading this book I am getting ready to sell it and find that I can recall virtually nothing about it.
  ritaer | Jun 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herman, Rein F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shillinglaw, SusanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silveira, BrennoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search their own hearts, for this book is about a large part of America today.
Dedication
To Beth, my sister, whose light burns clear
First words
When the fair gold morning of April stirred Mary Hawley awake, she turned over to her husband and saw him, little fingers pulling a frog mouth at her.
Quotations
You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Ethan Hawley is a war veteran, grocery store clerk, husband, and father, with much to say about Americans, consumerism, and the characters of his small seaside town. Themes of inadequacy, guilt, and deception are prominent as Ethan attempts to fulfill the expectations of his ancestors as well as his wife and children. "No one wants advice, only corroboration."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039482, Paperback)

From a swashbuckling pirate fantasy to a meditation on American morality?two classic Steinbeck novels make their black spine debuts

IN AWARDING John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had ?resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.?

Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of the novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With the decline in their status, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

From the Publisher: From a swashbuckling pirate fantasy to a meditation on American morality-two classic Steinbeck novels make their black spine debuts. In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had "resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American." Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of the novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With the decline in their status, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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