32 pages 1 hour read

John Steinbeck

The Moon Is Down

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1942

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Character Analysis

Mayor Orden

As the protagonist of The Moon is Down, Mayor Orden is described as greatly respected in his role as mayor and representative of the people. Mayor Orden shows relatively little character growth throughout the novel; his actions, words, and behavior towards Colonel Lanser always depend upon what he believes the townspeople would want: “He and his office were one” (7). In this, Mayor Orden’s character symbolizes the collective voice of the town and the democratic process.

When faced with imminent execution, Mayor Orden briefly shows fear of the role he plays in the town’s society by admitting to Doctor Winter that he has considered escaping to England to avoid death. Though he considers this action, Mayor Orden ultimately decides to remain in his position and fulfill the duties he perceives to be important to his role as mayor. Mayor Orden’s friendship with Doctor Winter characterizes them both as democratic leaders intent on securing the freedom of the townspeople. Further, Mayor Orden’s civility towards Colonel Lanser and the soldiers highlights Orden’s respect for propriety and compassion, as he does not blame them directly for their violence against the town but rather understands that they are acting the part of dutiful soldiers.