Sweet Thursday

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In Monterey, on the California coast, Sweet Thursday is what they call the day after Lousy Wednesday, which is one of those days that is just naturally bad. Returning to the scene of Cannery Row, the weedy lots and junk heaps and flophouses of Monterey, John Steinbeck once more brings to life the denizens of a netherworld of laughter and tears-from Fauna, new headmistress of the local brothel, to Hazel, a bum whose mother must have wanted a daughter.
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Overview

In Monterey, on the California coast, Sweet Thursday is what they call the day after Lousy Wednesday, which is one of those days that is just naturally bad. Returning to the scene of Cannery Row, the weedy lots and junk heaps and flophouses of Monterey, John Steinbeck once more brings to life the denizens of a netherworld of laughter and tears-from Fauna, new headmistress of the local brothel, to Hazel, a bum whose mother must have wanted a daughter.
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Editorial Reviews

Atlantic
A postwar continuation of Cannery Row, [Sweet Thursday is] every bit as juicy and relaxed as the original. . . . This is comedy—bawdy, sentimental, and good fun.
New Republic
An emphatic and clear-cut statement of Steinbeck's greatest theme: the common bonds of humanity and love which make goodness and happiness possible.
Library Journal
Published in 1954, this continues the tale begun in Cannery Row. The setting is the same, and familiar characters return—Mack and his buddies and marine biologist Doc. But there are changes, too. Joseph-and-Mary Rivas is the new owner of Lee Chong's grocery store, and Fauna has taken over the Bear Flag brothel from her sister Dora. Cannery Row was not immune to the changes wrought by World War II. Doc has returned from his military service to reopen Western Biological Supply. Before the war, he was content to collect and sell specimens and listen to classical music. Now, he feels intensely lonely and also pressured to publish the results of his scientific work. Mack and Fauna conspire to pair him with Suzy, the Bear Flag's new girl. The best of intentions go awry in a humorous and charming series of misunderstandings. VERDICT Jerry Farden's straightforward reading allows the listener to discern the irony and humor of which the characters are unaware. A welcome choice for public libraries that could be part of a "Heard any classics?" display.—Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140187502
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.76 (w) x 7.14 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

John Steinbeck (1902—1968), winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, achieved popular success in 1935 when he published Tortilla Flat. He went on to write more than twenty-five novels, including The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. Robert DeMot t is the Edwin and Ruth Kennedy Distinguished Professor at Ohio University.

Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Salinas, California February 27, 1902. His father, John Steinbeck, served as Monterey County Treasurer for many years. His mother, Olive Hamilton, was a former schoolteacher who developed in him a love of literature. Young Steinbeck came to know the Salinas Valley well, working as a hired hand on nearby ranches in Monterey County. In 1919, he graduated from Salinas High School as president of his class and entered Stanford University majoring in English. Stanford did not claim his undivided attention. During this time he attended only sporadically while working at a variety jobs including on with the Big Sur highway project, and one at Spreckels Sugar Company near Salinas.

Steinbeck left Stanford permanently in 1925 to pursue a career in writing in New York City. He was unsuccessful and returned, disappointed, to California the following year. Though his first novel, Cup of Gold, was published in 1929, it attracted little literary attention. Two subsequent novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To A God Unknown, met the same fate.

After moving to the Monterey Peninsula in 1930, Steinbeck and his new wife, Carol Henning, made their home in Pacific Grove. Here, not far from famed Cannery Row, heart of the California sardine industry, Steinbeck found material he would later use for two more works, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row.

With Tortilla Flat (1935), Steinbeck's career took a decidedly positive turn, receiving the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal. He felt encouraged to continue writing, relying on extensive research and personal observation of the human drama for his stories. In 1937, Of Mice and Men was published. Two years later, the novel was produced on Broadway and made into a movie. In 1940, Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for Grapes of Wrath, bringing to public attention the plight of dispossessed farmers.

After Steinbeck and Henning divorced in 1942, he married Gwyndolyn Conger. The couple moved to New York City and had two sons, Thomas and two years later, John. During the war years, Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Some of his dispatches reappeared in Once There Was A War. In 1945, Steinbeck published Cannery Row and continued to write prolifically, producing plays, short stories and film scripts. In 1950, he married Elaine Anderson Scott and they remained together until his death.

Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and keen social perception.." In his acceptance speech, Steinbeck summarized what he sought to achieve through his works:

"...Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it and it has not changed except to become more needed. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. From the beginning, their functions, their duties, their responsibilities have been decreed by our species...Further more, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man's proven capacity of greatness of heart and spirit—gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and emulation. I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature..."

Steinbeck remained a private person, shunning publicity and moving frequently in his search for privacy. He died on December 20, 1968 in New York City, where he and his family made a home. But his final resting place was the valley he had written about with such passion. At his request, his ashes were interred in the Garden of Memories cemetery in Salinas. He is survived by his son, Thomas.

Author biography courtesy of the National Steinbeck Center.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amnesia Glasscock
      John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (full name); Amnesia Glasscock
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 27, 1902
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salinas, California
    1. Date of Death:
      December 20, 1968
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Table of Contents


Introduction   Robert Demott     ix
Suggestions for Further Reading     xxvii
Prologue     xxxv
What Happened In Between     1
The Troubled Life of Joseph and Mary     8
Hooptedoodle (1)     14
There Would Be No Game     24
Enter Suzy     26
The Creative Cross     33
Tinder Is as Tinder Does     37
The Great Roque War     44
Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts     47
There's a Hole in Reality through which We Can Look if We Wish     53
Hazel's Brooding     60
Flower in a Crannied Wall     66
Parallels Must Be Related     68
Lousy Wednesday     70
The Playing Fields of Harrow     74
The Little Flowers of Saint Mack     80
Suzy Binds the Cheese     86
A Pause in the Day's Occupation     91
Sweet Thursday (1)     101
Sweet Thursday (2)     107
Sweet Thursday Was One Hell of a Day     112
The Arming     117
One Night of Love     123
Waiting Friday     129
Old Jingleballicks     134
The Developing Storm     143
O Frabjous Day!     146
Where Alfred the Sacred River Ran     156
Oh, Woe, Woe, Woe!     165
A President Is Born     174
The Thorny Path of Greatness     179
Hazel's Quest     181
The Distant Drum     194
The Deep-Dish Set-Down     198
Il n'y a pas de mouches sur la grandmere     200
Lama Sabachthani?     209
Little Chapter     212
Hooptedoodle (2), or The Pacific Grove Butterfly Festival     213
Sweet Thursday Revisited     216
I'm Sure We Should All Be as Happy as Kings     223
Notes     227
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 29, 2010

    Sweet Thursday/An equal follow up to Cannery Row -

    I was travelling to Paris with my wife and decided to bring Cannery Row with me as my read for both the flight and while in the city. While I did not get much reading done while in Paris on the flight home COULD NOT put the book down. The focal point of the story (in my opinion a romantic comedy) is Doc and his return to Cannery Row after service in WW II. Doc struggles with finding happiness/peace and fullfillment and it is finally realized that his real struggle is not completing a great scientific find or the paper that will "define" him but was rather his denial in heart for the love he had for the stories other main character Suzy. Mac and his cohorts from the Palace Flophouse play a large role is making Doc realize that his inner peace can only come when he stops denying his lonliness and admits his love for Suzy. Hazel (a man whose parents never changed his name when born expecting a girl) is the hero you could say of the moment and whose actions are the focal point in the story. Fauna the town madame is seen as caring person to her girls and makes it point to turn Suzy the right way and into the arms of Doc. I enjoyed the book as stated when leaving Paris as Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors and it did not disapoint. There are also numerous other characters from the previous story that find there way into this one. The ending is great but I won't spoil it.
    PS - while in Paris I was VERY much inspired to read Hemingway and Hugo so B&N get ready.

    DNC

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2002

    Wonderful Sequel to "Cannery Row"

    Everyone has internal conflicts that can be brought out and mended with the help of friends, family, and those around them; in John Steinbeck¿s ¿Sweet Thursday¿ Doc¿s conflict is his loneliness, and various characters in the book try to help him in their own ways. The story takes place in Monterey, California, a small community where everyone knows everyone else. Doc is the local scientist who runs Western Biological Laboratory. He keeps himself busy to hide from his loneliness. Everyone in town knows Doc is not himself, and they all try to help in one way or another. Hazel, a bum who is known for his lack of thought, begins to contemplate ways to help Doc. The owner of the local gentlemen¿s club, Fauna, tries to fix Doc up with Suzy, a new girl in town. Suzy is a self-sufficient fireball. She does not let anyone help her, even if they are just doing it in good will. The plan to get Doc hooked up goes awry when Mack, another bum, and his friends throw a party for Doc. Through a misunderstanding, Fauna arranges the party as a wedding, and as a result, Suzy pulls herself away from the community, including Doc. Everyone who is involved in helping Doc goes through a change of their own, whether it be accepting who they are, or realizing their true lot in life. <P> Steinbeck uses conflict to tell this story, most of it being internal conflict. The best character representations of internal conflict are Doc, Suzy, and Hazel. At one point in the book, Doc is trying to write a paper on octopus, but he cannot because he is distracted by his thoughts. ¿ `Write!¿ said his top voice, and `Search!¿ sang his middle voice, and his lowest voice sighed, `Lonesome! Lonesome!¿(58-59) ¿ The voices hound at him throughout the book. Deep down he knows that he needs someone to share his life with. Suzy¿s internal struggle is with her self-sufficiency. She is so independent, that she takes offense when someone tries to help her or tell her what she should do. It is hard for her to become close with anyone, so in a sense, she is also lonely. Hazel¿s internal conflict is quite amusing. He is told that he is destined to become president, so he tries to change, tries to think and act like a leader. When he realizes that he is not suited for the job, he panics and begs Mack to get him out of the job that he in fact never had. Just as every person in life does, every character in the book has a conflict that they must deal with, and in doing so, they change for the better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    Lovely

    Charming and funny... and a happy ending

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    A live dream

    This book is the sequel to ¿Cannery Row.¿ It speaks about Doc and Mac five years later. Between the two books, World War Two happened. Most of the story is about Doc and his love problems. His friends, Mack and the other people of the Row will try to make a love story between him and Suzy. John Steinbeck gives something new to his characters. This book is an entire story where we follow Doc, it¿s the biggest difference between ¿Cannery Row¿ and ¿Sweet Thursday¿. The characters seem more real and close to reader we really feel like we are people of the Row. The book is full of descriptions which really help readers to visualize characters and places. The writing is soft, the choice of the words is perfectly apt to each situation of the story, and it¿s pleasure to read. It¿s just like living a dream with the characters of Cannery Row.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2000

    Stienbecks best book of the Monterey trilogy

    I have only read three book from stienbeck. Tortilla Flalt, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. This is the best I have read, perfect for people that live in California, it really hits home.

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