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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 diverges from the narrative for a remembrance from Steinbeck about his mother, Olive Hamilton. None of the Hamilton daughters “were destined to become work-destroyed farm girls.” Olive chose to be a teacher, one of the most respected professions a young woman could have in her day. Olive taught for several years, but wanted a more “metropolitan life.” She married Ernest Steinbeck, a city boy with a city job, and raised her family. Steinbeck recalls what kind of woman and mother she had been. She had an abhorrence of debt that she passed on to her children. She didn’t like unpleasantness. When John contracted pleural pneumonia, she tried everything from Christianity to mysticism to make...

(The entire section is 249 words.)