Homework Help

John Steinbeck states' In the end is the word, and the word is man, and the word is...

user profile pic

v4mp1r3 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2011 at 2:11 AM via web

dislike 1 like

John Steinbeck states' In the end is the word, and the word is man, and the word is with man.' in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, what does this mean?

This seems like something a vital point to steinbeck's thoughts on politics and beliefs, so i think this will really help me with my assignment.. so please interpret the quote taken.

The full paragraph says, 'Having taken God-like power, we must seek in ourselves for the responsibility and the wisdom we once prayed some deity might have. Man himself has become our greatest hazard and our only hope. So that today, saint John the Apostle may well be paraphrased: In the end is the word, and the word is man, and the word is with man.'  Please give a detailed interpretation.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

It seems to me that the particular quote offered is one whereby Steinbeck reverts to his sentimentality and his unabashed hope for humanity.  I think that Steinbeck wants to move away from a realm where faith in the external salvation is so evident.  Rather, he wishes for human beings to be the miracle that is so sought.  The very idea that he is able to speak of the creative and destructive powers that seem to simultaneously exist within human beings is a part of this.  In the idea that "the word is 'man," Steinbeck seems to suggest that modernity is defined by human freedom and the more that writers can articulate this condition, the better the chance that it will be explored and ruminated upon in a manner where there can be a hope to transform society.  It seems that Steinbeck is very much motivated with the idea that there can be a change in the world, and human beings can initiate such transformation.  This becomes critical in reading Steinbeck's works and would make sense that this is something that drives his Nobel Acceptance Speech.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes