In the 1930s, America's economy fell by more than 52%. This downfall is widely known as the Great Depression. Thousands were suffering and had to make the best out of what they had. People of the Great Depression suffered because of the loss of jobs, stock market crash and debt. The novel, Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck, characters live on Cannery Row during the Great Depression in Monterey, California. These extraordinary characters face the difficulties of the Great Depression. In Cannery Row, Steinbeck symbolizes the suffering and economic crash of the Great Depression through characters living conditions, suicides and a party. .
Mr. and Mrs.Malloy lived in difficult and uncomfortable conditions during the Great Depression. Steinbeck agrees when he writes " In 1935 Mr and Mrs.Sam Malloy moved into the boiler.you had to get down on your hands and knees(Steinbeck 48). The couple had couldn't afford a home so they had to live in a boiler where getting in was very unpleasant. Since jobs and homes were lost many people in Cannery Row had to use the resources like a boiler to make a home. Furthermore, some characters in Cannery Row had to live in other things like a large pipe. Steinbeck states, "then it was that Mr. Malloy looks to renting the larger pipes as sleeping quarters(48). Some people living on Cannery Row live is pipes as homes. By people living in pipes and boiler shows the suffering of the Great Depression.
Steinbeck included strange vignettes that depicted character's getting overwhelmed with depression and stress during the Great Depression, they committed suicide. Abbeville was a warehouse owner who owed debt to Lee Chong. Steinbeck describes Abbeville as going "into the building that had been his and he shot himself on a heap of fish"(9). Abbeville committed suicide out of inability to pay his debt. During the Great Depression, the suicide rate was high. Steinbeck uses the characters to symbolize the suicides of the Great Depression.