Steinbeck?s experience and feelings in “Breakfast” by John SteinbeckSteinbeck’s experience and feelings in “Breakfast” by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck’s stories depict his commiseration and compassion for the down-trodden class. He, in his stories, has summed up the bitterness of the Great Depression decade and aroused widespread sympathy for the plight of migratory farm workers. His style is natural and lucid.
The story “Breakfast” by John Steinbeck is a description of a warm experience he had had. He reminisced about it each time with extra gratification. He kept on refreshing the “sunken memory” with greater details which presented him with queer blitheness.
The author while traveling through the country side early in the morning chanced to meet a family who had fixed their tent down in a valley. He saw a young woman with a baby in her arm, cooking at a cracked, rusty and old iron stove. The writer observed the lady’s movements with great vigilance. He was inspired by the way she was doing her work and at the same time handling the child with absolute ease. The orange fire peeking out of the cracked stove made reflections on the tent which were quite appealing for the author. The author moved towards the stove to warm himself.
In the meanwhile, two persons; an old and a young who were more or less alike, came out of the tent. They exchanged salutations with the author. The young woman kept on doing her job. She was frying bacon and baking bread. The two men inhaled deeply the delicious odour and invited the author for the breakfast. They did not ask the writer his name nor about his whereabouts. The young man asked the author if he was picking cotton. The author told him that he was not on job. The bloke told the author with satisfaction that he had been working for twelve days and the young woman added cheerfully that they had got new robes. They thanked to God for providing them with the opportunity to earn a living.
They savoured the taste of the nicely concocted breakfast. The old man chewed the food with relish and said, “God Almighty, it’s good,” and he filled his mouth again. The young man was quite blissful as they had been eating good food for twelve days. The men’s contentment on the food, that though not surfeit and lavish, deeply impressed the writer.
The young man told the author that if he wanted a job they could arrange one for him. The author though denied, was inspired by their concern. It was because he understood that getting a job during a period of Great Depression was nearly impossible at it might deprive them of their job. Thus they were helpful and cooperative. They perhaps had too little food for themselves but still were concerned and offered the author to share their meal with them. Similarly, they were concerned about his job. They had no jealousy, were free from duplicity and were ingenuous people.
He expressed thanks to the men for the breakfast and they all went on their ways. Though the author had a small meeting with them, he enjoyed it and kept on cherishing its pleasant memories. The writer was fascinated by their simple living. Their high spirits, simple airs, their satisfaction and hospitality, all had an element of beauty in them which put an everlasting impression on the writer’s mind. The family was poor and was not easily provided with bread and butter but their poverty had not made them morally declined. They thanked God for whatever blessings they had. The writer has artistically narrated the purity in their life by realizing that contentment depends more on character than on the amount of one’s possessions. The family was happily constituted who were by nature endowed with a contented frame of mind. They had no complaints for their meager resources or for the unfavourable conditions that prevailed at that time. Real happiness does not depend upon wealth and comforts of life. Money and prosperity are not the only guarantee for a happy and contented life. These simplicities urged the writer to recall the genial meeting again and again. He thought with a notion of delight, “But there was