Cannery Row

Who is The Chinaman from Cannery Row and what is their importance?

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A nameless denizen of Cannery Row, the old, lean, wizened unnamed Chinaman flip-flops his way down the street each sunset carrying an empty wicker basket, disappears beneath the piers for the day, and wends his way back up the hill at dawn with his basket heavy and ripping. He slips through a gate and is not seen again. He has been doing this for years. Some say he is God or Death. Children find him funny, but only a brave ten-year-old visitor from Salinas, Andy, ever dares taunt him. Andy sees in the old man's eyes something mysterious, a feeling of loneliness, that never leaves him.