Another day, another classic. I love Steinbeck’s way of writing. It just kind of flows, these are no humps and before you know it, you’re at the end of the book. I already read a couple of Steinbeck’s pieces of work (East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath and of course Of Mice and Men) but decided to pick up The Winter of our Discontent because it was his last book.
Enter “The Winter of our Discontent”
The book follows Ethan, once part of the aristocracy of Long Island, now working as a clerk in a grocery shop, after his father loses the family fortune. At first, it seemed that he is quite content with his life. He has a wife that he adores, Mary, and two kids, a girl, and a boy. He struggles to keep his moral values, but the constant criticism of his family and friends make him reconsider everything. They encourage him to take risks and invest the little money he still has, take bribes and even rob a bank.
After long consideration and internal turmoil, Ethan begins to make things happen for himself. First, he anonymously denounces his boss, an illegal Italian immigrant to the authorities. When the later is arrested, he transferred the store to Ethan’s name, believing he is an honest man and that he deserves it.
He manages to convince his childhood best friend, now the town drunk, to sell him a piece of land, that is crucial in the development of the town, being the only place where an airport could be built. These factors make him one of the most powerful and rich men in the city. But will this be enough for Ethan? Or losing his moral integrity be too much? I will let you find out.
Badger’s opinion on “The Winter of our Discontent”
All in all, I definitely recommend this book. Although it may be better to read it at a younger age when you can still understand Ethan’s drive and need for a moral and internal compass.