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Tony H. (Tony500) reviewed Steinbeck Yearbook 2000: The Winter of Our Discontent on
The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck
Ethan Allen Hawley
Sometimes a character comes along that rings out in your head. He's so identifiable that you almost assume the character was modeled after your own soul. Never mind the fact that the character was created 10 years before you were born, he's you... or maybe you're him.
These characters are so real that you forget that the author is the one narrating the story. The author is transparent. The narrator is your own heart, a characterization of yourself. His narration is raw and truthful. The prose may be nearly 50 years old, but it paints a portrait of American life that transcends all the days from this to that.
That's Steinbeck's prose. Steinbeck's prose, but Ethan Hawley's words. Ethan is the lead character in Steinbeck's, "The Winter of Our Discontent." Ethan is Steinbeck's creation; Ethan is my character. I listen to his thoughts, to the ideas in his head and I recognize them as the thoughts I so often find myself working through. His struggles, his emotions and, indeed, his proposed solutions are a facsimile of the very ones I carry with me. Every man must consider his fate. In your heart, you find your answers, however right or wrong. Ethan found my answers... not that I'm gonna start robbing banks or anything. But, sitting in the Place, out of the wind, seeing under the guardian lights, I find the answers that Ethan found so long before I knew I was looking. "No nonsense of Madison Avenue then or trimming too many leaves from cauliflowers." Here, a man can breathe.