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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 begins Part Two of the epic. In the opening chapter, Steinbeck takes a break from the saga of the Hamiltons and the Trasks to reflect on the changes that have occurred in the nation and its people between the ending of the Civil War and the turn of the century. In a way, it is a return to the sentiments expressed in the opening chapter of the novel: that is, the fallibility of collective memory. Steinbeck channels the voices of the people who look back on the 18th century with nostalgia. Men were men and women were ladies then, the people said. Now, all that has been lost. On the other hand, many Americans remained scarred by...

(The entire section is 235 words.)