60 pages 2 hours read

John Steinbeck

Cannery Row

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1945

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Chapters 21-26Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 21 Summary

This chapter begins by describing the animals in the laboratory, including rats, snakes, and anemones. Early in the morning after the party, a few residents of Cannery Row move around. Lee takes out his garbage cans, the bouncer of the Bear Flag looks out from the porch, and sea lions bark near the Hopkins Marine Station. Then, Doc arrives home, sees the destruction of the party, and becomes furious.

Mack comes by and admits that he and his friends trashed the place. Doc hits him a couple times, but stops when Mack doesn’t fight back. Mack says he deserves the punishment. Once again, Doc hears music in his head, unable to use his broken record player. He tells Mack to wash his bloody face while he goes to Lee’s to buy some beer. Doc returns and pours himself and Mack a couple glasses of beer. As they drink, Mack apologizes and explains how he always has good intentions but messes up in the execution of his ideas. He tells Doc about how his wife left him.

When Mack offers to pay for the damages, Doc says that he knows Mack honestly intends to pay him but never will. Mack agrees, and Doc says that punching Mack got the anger out of his system.