Cannery Row Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Lee Chong's business.

Lee Chong runs a small, crowded grocery, which is open from dawn until the last vagrant goes to sleep. Lee runs the store primarily on credit. Lee is prosperous, respected, and bounces back from business errors.

2. How does Lee acquire another building?

One of Lee's debtors, Horace Abbeville, signs over to Lee a building storing fishmeal to clear his debt. If the cannery expands, the lot will be valuable.

3. It would be impractical to use the building to store groceries, so what does Lee do with the building?

Lee leases the building to a group of homeless men, Mack and the boys, for $5 a week. Lee never sees a penny of the money, but the boys become regular customers and never steal from his store again.

4. What does Steinbeck call Mack and the boys?

Mack and the boys are called the Virtues, Graces and Beauties in Monterey. They avoid the trap that poisons those who call them no-goods and bums. "Our Father who art in nature" has given them, like coyotes, rats, sparrow, flies, and moths, an ability to survive.

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