John Steinbeck studied writing from time to time at Stanford between 1920 and 1925, but never graduated. He later moved to New York, where he did manual labor and worked as a journalist. While he was there, he wrote his first two novels, which were unsuccessful. However, Steinbeck was considered one of the great American novelists of the 20th century. After World War II, Steinbeck's work became more sentimental, especially in his piece, Cannery Row. This book was a depiction of the lives of people who had many hardships, yet were able to seek out the true values in life. It took place in the time of prosperity after World War II; nevertheless, the people of Monterey, California were living and thinking as though it was still the Great Depression. In trying to make their lives better, these people relied on one of the main characters, Doc, for guidance. In Steinbeck's novel, Doc helped others, and in return, they attempted to help him, even though they were not as successful. Besides these faithful acts, John Steinbeck's setting, conflicts, and characters gave the story a unique style and perspective.
Since there was no central plot, Steinbeck focused on the setting to carry the reader through the book. The fixture that was a major contrast to the rest of the book was in the early morning in Cannery Row. This was the time of day when everything seemed to have a touch of magic. The whole district looked as if it had a hue of silver upon it. "It [was] the hour of the pearl "the interval between day and night when time [stopped] and examined itself."" (Steinbeck. 78) Barely anyone was out, which made the neighborhood feel more deserted than usual. Furthermore, the streets showed no sign of bustling. At this time, worries were forgotten and a new day was born. The people of the row appeared content, despite the strenuous day that lay ahead of them. Each morning gave the community a chance to recover from the rowdy night before and prepare for what they were going to face.