Discuss the animal imagery at the beginning of chapter 3.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Steinbeck begins by describing the town as an animal, comparing it to an animal in order to stress how the town has a rhythm of its own.

A town is a thing like a colonial animal. A town has a nervous system and a head and shoulders and feet. A town is a thing separate from all other towns, so that there are no two towns alike. And a town has a whole emotion. (ch 3)

Steinbeck is reminding us that the story takes place in a village, and villages have a different social structure.  A village is an entity, a life form, in and of itself.  The town thinks- it has a nervous system and a head.  News seems to travel on its own.  Towns like this also feel; they have their own emotion.  This stresses the cultural aspect of the town, and its uniqueness.  The people of the town act as one.