Cannery Row Chapter 24 Summary
by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 24 Summary

Chapter 24 introduces two new characters, Mary and Tom Talbot. Young Mary is lovely. She has golden skin and green eyes with gold flecks. She has long legs and seems to float when she walks. Her face is often flushed with excitement. 

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Better than anything in the world, Mary loves throwing parties and going to parties. Her husband does not make a good deal of money, so often, Mary has to convince other people to give the parties. But whenever she is able to do so, Mary throws her own. She has numerous birthday parties every year and no holiday is neglected. Her husband, who loves her very much, is excited because she is excited. 

In a way, Mary tries to stay gay in order to boost her husband's spirits. Money is often very tight and Tom gets depressed. She thinks it is her job to "keep the dark things out of the house." Sometimes, though, the "dark things" get in despite her efforts. In these instances, Mary puts in extra effort to be festive. 

On one such occasion, when the Talbots are short on rent and Tom has received a notice of termination from the water department, Mary goes out and collects a little bouquet of wildflowers. She brings it to Tom and asks him whether he knows what day it is, although there truly is not a special occasion to celebrate and Mary is frantically trying to think of something to say. 

Tom is not in the mood to be taken out of his thoughts. He snaps at his wife and says they have to face facts: they are about to "go down" and they are kidding themselves.

Mary refuses to accept it. She tells Tom that they will not "go down." They, she says emphatically, are "magic people." She reminds him of a couple of times when they had mysteriously come into money, either finding it or having it sent to them unexpectedly. Mary is certain that once again, something, somehow, some way, will come along to rescue them this time too. "Nothing can happen to us," she asserts. 

Finally, Mary comes up with a reason to celebrate. She tells Tom that today is the "anniversary of the founding of the Bloomer League."...

(The entire section is 573 words.)