32 pages 1 hour read

John Steinbeck

The Moon Is Down

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1942

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Chapters 1-3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary

The Moon is Down opens with the sudden conquering of a small Norwegian mining town by German soldiers during World War II. Mr. Corell, the town’s shopkeeper, has secretly worked with the German Colonel Lanser in preparation for the town’s defeat. The town’s small defensive troops, 12 in total, were tricked out of the town by Corell while Colonel Lanser established control. Nine of the soldiers are either killed or wounded when they attempt to return.

Mayor Orden receives news that Colonel Lanser intends to meet with him. Orden invites his friend and colleague, Doctor Winter, to attend the meeting as another representative of the town. Captain Bentick of Colonel Lanser’s command enters the Mayor’s house and searches for the firearms Corell has told them about. Both Winter and Orden are shocked to discover that Corell has betrayed his people. Orden’s wife joins them in waiting for Colonel Lanser and wonders what social proprieties she should observe in such a situation. Doctor Winter replies: “It’s been so long since we conquered anybody or anybody conquered us. I don’t know what is proper” (9). They have not received news of the state of the rest of the country.