jeremy's Reviews > The Winter of Our Discontent

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
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Nov 25, 07

bookshelves: fiction
Read in October, 2006

Published the year before Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962, The Winter of Our Discontent has often been undeservedly scorned by critics as his most lackluster effort. Set in the summer in a fictional New England town, this timeless story tells the tale of Ethan Allen Hawley, descendant of a well-to-do family, who now finds himself working as a shop clerk in the very store he once owned. Father, husband, and man of impeccable integrity, Hawley struggles to maintain his pride while providing for his family's needs. A critique of the temptation, greed, corruption, and relaxed morality that has come to mark too much of modern American life, Winter pits the quest for wealth and status against the virtues of a meritorious life. Steinbeck's novel, acute in its characterizations of the human condition, is an unforgettable testament to the conflicting dualities that shape us all. As he declared in his speech at the Nobel Prize banquet, "Man himself has become our greatest hazard and our only hope.
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