Jason's Reviews > Burning Bright

Burning Bright by John Steinbeck
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Aug 27, 2007

really liked it
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A stellar experimental novel, even at 87 short pages. The action begins with Act I at a circus, where the three principal characters and the driving conflict are all introduced. In Act II, the scene remains exactly the same, but the setting and occupations of the characters have changed, each one now part of the crew of a large tourist ship. As the conflict reaches its climax in Act III, the setting is again shifted while the story continues uninterrupted, now happening on a farm with the three principal players the farm hands. Steinbeck's idea it to represent his philosophy that the human condition transcends setting, scenery, or social status. Indeed, the captain of a luxury liner can suffer the same kind of personal crisis as a circus clown or a ranch hand. Furthermore, Steinbeck strips prose to its most bare essentials, writing little more than stage directions and dialogue as opposed to the formalized, richly descriptive, structured prose found in East of Eden of The Grapes of Wrath. I'd recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a good story, an experimental bit of writing, and/or the human condition as viewed through the socialized lens of Steinbeck.
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