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The positive and negative sides of communism as explained in steinbecks in dubious battle

I will kick off this discussion now, and if any have not yet finished the book, well, it may be better for you to not read any of these comments just yet. I made copious notes as I read the book. Now, my thoughts are awhirl! The surface story the strike and its ramifications.

Philosophical conclusion arrived at. In typical modesty, Steinbeck felt that only the first item would be perceived, but I believe he succeeded on all three counts. I believed in the story.

  1. Did the soviet union and the us clash directly in battle no the cold war policy of keeping communism within its already the two sides reached a cease.
  2. And Germaine Taillefaire, who deserves much wider recognition. The author brilliantly touches on this in the conversation with Jim and Doc Burton on page 259.
  3. Any favorites in there? Right to strike or no right to strike.
  4. The scene is so evocatively. Their imaginations or their personal identities matter only so much as they help further the cause.

I sympathized with the struggle for the most part… more on this later. Secondly, the group-psychological phalanx stuff. Nobody said it better than Mac p. Now, I must say a word here about this phalanx thing. The potential for great good and also for great evil or bad is an attribute of any MOB, or group. Things can be achieved by the group that cannot be achieved by the individual. Remember where someone in the story said that ten men combined had the physical strength of twelve individual men?

But all the while, I could not help but think of the analogy of deliberately seducing a man with an undercover prostitute… and then arresting him because the plot worked! In other words, the man would not have sought her services on his own, if left on his own! Someone sets the trap, and someone falls in. But what if the trap was never set? The philosophical conclusion, or premise.

The author brilliantly touches on this in the conversation with Jim and Doc Burton on page 259. And Steinbeck is one! In a nutshell, no matter what system is in place communism, capitalism, etc. Not because of invested capital, but because of human greed! We might buy into revolutionary solutions like Mac did if we were unacquainted with the insights of Alexis de Toqueville, the 19th Century French journalist and social critic, who explained that every violent revolution necessarily results in tyranny.

De Tocqueville explained that if the revolution succeeds, those who have won must suppress and control by military means those who have opposed it. The loyalists to the old regime must flee for their lives. This is true whether it be the Cuban Revolution causing refugees to escape to Florida, or the American Revolution, which caused loyalists to flee to New Brunswick and Bermuda.

Over an extended period of time restrictive measures may be relaxed, but often a whole generation must pass away for that to happen. On the other hand, tyranny will also be necessitated should the revolution fail.

Communism Marxismas I understand it, believes that the state always serves the interests of those who control the means of production and who own the wealth. I can imagine the main characters in this story sitting around the campfire with their beans and rancid coffee doing the same … but, history SEEMS to tell us that these hopes were not realized in nations of the socialist bloc.

Instead, the governments of these countries became and become increasingly bloated bureaucracies, primarily committed to their own perpetuation rather than to serving the general public. And I will never stop thinking about them I guess. No one is right! Just like the real world.

Tragedy mixed the positive and negative sides of communism as explained in steinbecks in dubious battle with everything beautiful. I promised once to keep my opening comments brief…. I would rate this book as 4. I loved the book. Steinbeck always manages to come up with strong endings. I had read three other books by Steinbeck I intend to read all 25 of his books and each of those three had had a bigger impact on me, therefore I will not give this book 5 stars.

Still, a magnificient story. A society has two choices: Right to strike or no right to strike. I prefer to live in a society that has a right to strike. But you cannot do it halfways.

A right to strike means that the powers will have to play it straight. You cannot say that there is a right to strike and then — lie to the media and manipulate the public opinion against the strikers, — shoot at picketers, — harm their sympathizers burn their businesses, barns and crops— take away their doctor and then maybe torture him to get information from him to set a trap against the agitators— cut off their food supply.

If there is a right to strike then there is a right to strike. All parties have to play it by the rule.

In Dubious Battle

And what an end it was: The story-telling was brilliant, as always. Was everything perfect in between? No, not for a Steinbeck novel. I found the main characters shallow with the exception of London. They act and talk like actors who memorized their part in a play but unable to penetrate the essence of their roles, resulting the characters of one dimension, like caricatures or puppets. With these tight strings, Mac, Jim and Doc always found themselves repeating the same sentences, cliches over an over again during their apolitical tirades.

London was the only character in the book, who managed to break his chains, displayed some actions that were not expected from his former self, hence showed some development throughout the story.

The novel would have been better without the non-ideological monologues presented as dialoguesbut I believe, this structure was quite common at the time of writing and Steinbeck could not save himself from that affliction. I would give three and a half hearts as the over all score. The novel would have been better without the: In most Steinbeck that I have read, he uses the actions of the characters to show their ideological positions, not dialogue that weighs the story down with its heavy-handedness.

Parallels with The Grapes of Wrath are inevitable — the subjects of the books are so much the same — but here I felt less sympathy with the strikers because they were being manipulated by Mac and Jim. They themselves did not feel real to me, not purposeful enough. Jim spends the first half of the book following Mac around and saying how wonderful it makes him feel to belong to something bigger than just the individual. The ideas of the main characters were repeated to the point of frustration, at least for me.

What purpose did the character of Doc serve?

The positive and negative sides of communism as explained in steinbecks in dubious battle

A Greek chorus of some kind? Jim spends the first half of the book: There was way too much repetition and lecture disguised in dialogue. Grapes of Wrath, written 3 years later, is much more comfortable, natural and fluid in dialogues. What purpose did the character of Doc: They trapped Mac and Jim at the very end by using Doc. So, not that minor. This is a very interesting point. By the way, we must remember that Mac and Jim did not really start this strike. They went there with every intention of stimulating and giving a push to a strike but it happened all on its own.

I loved the story. These people had nothing to lose. They were already not earning enough to buy decent food when their rates were cut. Mac and Jim only had the chance to talk to a few men. As the Turkish proverb says: His smile and insincerity disgusted me. The man who had just offered twenty cents now raises it a little more: I also wish to say hello to everyone who reads and writes at readliterature: This novel surprised me. I had no idea that I was launching into a detailed analysis of the tactics of communist revolution.

All of the main ingredients were there: Of all the Steinbeck novels that I have read no other is so topical in its content nor so firmly rooted in a particular place and time. That said, what of the novel itself? In many ways I agree with Suat: I also found much of the dialogue repetitive and cliched. As a result none of the characters seem to be imbued with the mysterious, ineffable light of the truly human. The strike, and the tactics implemented to see it through, had to follow their natural and somewhat predictable path.

The imagination of the individual was superceded by the action of the group. And that brings me to what I feel was one of the great strengths of the novel: People or characters are only important in as much as they fulfill a particular role within the revolutionary combat or narrative.

Their imaginations or their personal identities matter only so much as they help further the cause. We know nothing of the personal history of Mac, Doc or Jim.