One of Steinbeck's darker novels, this story examines the Wayne family, and more specifically, Joseph Wayne, blessed son of the patriarch, John Wayne. Joseph, feeling a need to own his own land and lead his family, seduces his brothers Thomas, Burton, and Benjy to Northern California ranch country with promises of free ranch land, the reestablishment of a family base, and opportunities to develop a deeper relationship with the land that is both understandable, but at the same time, quite unnatural. Examining the conflict between those who believe in the "old ways", (here meaning the time before Christ) and those who understand what it means to turn away from the old ways and move into the light of a new beginning and a greater understanding, this descriptive and dynamic story encourages one to read this novel on a variety of levels and degrees of understanding that are to be found throughout the myriad relationships that Steinbeck masterfully establishes.
Leatherby Libraries Call Number: PS3537.T3234.T6 1986
2nd Floor Humanities Library
Review submitted by: Kevin Ross, Associate Dean, Leatherby Libraries