Flight Essay

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Timmerman is affiliated with the Department of English at Calvin College. In the following excerpt, he discusses how Steinbeck's use of thematic patterns and images in "Flight" effectively portrays the main protagonist as a person "in search of his manhood," whose powerful and enduring spirit enables him to rise above "the animal in man."

Steinbeck's interest in marine biology was inflamed to a passion in the early 1930s. The sea, with its endless surgings and its proliferation of life, would remain a powerful influence upon his life and art throughout his career. We can acknowledge the homing quiet and clashing of dubious battles in his valleys; we can celebrate the high, sun-splashed reaches of his mountains; but we must return over and over to the timeless swell of life and death in the sea as a metaphorical pattern as well as a geographical place in his work.

The...

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This section contains 3,376 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Flight Study Guide
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