Cannery Row Chapter 30 Summary
by John Steinbeck

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Chapter 30 Summary

In Chapter 30, the long-awaited party is taking place. Like anything that is overly anticipated, there is bound to be some letdown, and this occasion is no exception to the rule. Still, as things are getting under way, everyone's hopes are high for a fantastic evening. 

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At eight o'clock, just as they planned, Mack and the boys pick up their jugs of alcohol and head down the hill to Western Biological. When Doc opens the door, Mack makes his best attempt at a formal speech, to the embarrassment of them both. Still, Mack forges ahead; on behalf of all the boys, he wishes Doc a happy birthday and informs him that they are holding twenty-one cats as a birthday present over at the Palace Flophouse. 

Mack finishes his speech and stands uncomfortably on the stairs, waiting for Doc to say something. Doc asks them to come in and expresses surprise that they even know that it is his birthday. He offers them a little drink, but Mack does not want Doc to think they have come to mooch. He points out the wining jugs they all have with them. Kindly, Doc refuses and offers to share some better-quality whiskey with them. 

The air of formality has not yet dissipated as the men sit quietly sipping their whiskeys. Fortunately, Dora and her girls are not far behind. They happily present their beautiful quilt to Doc and lay it over his bed. They, too, accept a drink, and now things begin to loosen up at the party. 

Next at the door is Sam Malloy, who is pleased to give Doc his antique piston-and-rod set. He cheerfully tells his friend that the parts are likely to be worth a good deal of money very soon as so few are to be found anymore. 

A steady stream of guests now begins to pour over the hill, across the railroad tracks, past the vacant lot, and through Doc's door. Like a queen, Dora watches over the behavior of her girls from a seat she has taken in the main room. Doc had been correct about his guests' failure to consider food, so he is in the kitchen frying up steaks. Mack is at the phonograph, selecting records. Eddie is tap-dancing out in the office. Doc takes a swig from the...

(The entire section is 582 words.)