Along for the ride:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Revisiting Steinbeck

The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog's coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse's fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep's  wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and for the wind, for a man's trouser cuff or the hem of a woman's skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed of the anlage of movement.


  1. Those "sticky" things do seem to have a life of their own to reach out and grab the unsuspecting...a bit early in the season here in NJ as the burrs usually show up at summer's end, but I think that's when this passage is set....haven't read "Grapes" in an eternity.

    Steinbeck really does capture a mood with vivid imagery, doesn't he?

  2. Nature's a bitch sometimes...

  3. Love the quiet details of this.

  4. Jean, I decided to re-read "Grapes". I have a strong memory of a powerful story and style but I was not sure if it's impact would be the same so many years later. As you can see, I am still blown away by Steinbeck's work.

    Ms. Pliers, The Grapes of Wrath, Les Raisins de la Colere, John Steinbeck, beginning of chapter 3.

    Steve, Yes, but that is her strength.

    Kate, The description of weeds is amazing in and of itself. I also see such parallels to human perseverance in this paragraph.

    Argent, I would be proud to write such a paragraph, although I'd use shorter sentences. (Sacrilege ?)

  5. Thank you, my dear.

    I was thinking that must be it but needed your input!

  6. In my ignorance but also in my admiration for you I thought this might be a cover of an original, and very well done indeed. Ms. Pliers burst that little bubble. Oh well.