Read Steinbeck to understand the Trump voter | Culture

Read Steinbeck to understand the Trump voter | Culture

Ethan Allen Hawley is a good guy. The kind of guy who jokes all the time and even keeps long and ridiculous talks with setters on the way to work. Ethan works at the Marullo Fine Fruits and Foods store. It is your only dependent. There was a time when Ethan was its owner. But then it stopped being it. Now he works for an Italian, and that is something that sometimes he can not stand. He, an American, descendant of whaling captains and Mayflower pilgrims – the first British settlers to set foot on American soil – believes that he deserves better, but has learned to conform. He has done more than conform. He has turned his life into a small carousel of modest fun. Sometimes, he even recites odes to the cans.

Ethan Allen Hawley is one of those honest and charming characters of John Steinbeck, the last of them all, to which money turns into small unhappy monsters. Protagonist of his latest novel, The winter of my uneasiness (Nordic), it would seem that today, 50 years after his death, 50 years after the disappearance of the last writer who wanted to believe in the American dream but who, aware of its consequences, erected a powerful, although often mistreated , work as a warning, describes as few what is happening in the United States. What, it would seem, has been happening since the very idea of ​​being something more and better, no matter how and appealing to a more or less glorious past, was installed in those lands.

Steinbeck confesses to having written 'The winter of my uneasiness' for the situation of moral decay and corruption in which his country was

"Steinbeck attended the consequences of the Great Depression in American society, and documented them. And he remained committed to the reality of his time; in fact he confesses that he writes The winter of my uneasiness for the situation of moral decay and corruption in which his country was, "says Diego Moreno, its editor in Spain. Steinbeck, born in California in 1902, grew up in a small town, a border settlement, on one of the most fertile lands in the world. As a teenager, he spent his summers working in nearby ranches with immigrants attracted by the idea that everything there was possible. And it could be said that it was those summers that sowed in the mind of the future writer the idea that money, as an end that justifies everything, corrupts everything. "Steinbeck analyzes what goes through the head of Ethan Allen Hawley, shows us the change in moral attitude that makes possible a speech like that of Donald Trump and similar ones in Latin America and Europe," adds Moreno.

As someone who lived intensely in the twentieth century (he died in 1968, he returned from World War II with shrapnel in his body, when he had only traveled as a correspondent, and stepped on the Vietnamese trenches with one of his sons) and x-ray the consequences of the debacle of capitalism and its fierce resurgence – in the years that have passed since the publication of The grapes of anger (1939) a The winter of my uneasiness (1961: just a year before he was awarded the controversial Nobel), the United States moves from the economic crisis to a growth in which corruption played an essential role – Steinbeck anticipated, in shaping a story – that of the instability of the system – condemned to repeat itself, to everything that was to come. Including the Make America Great Again.

As Diego Moreno points out: "One of the central themes of Steinbeck's work is how the changes in the economic system affect the average citizen, who ends up voting for Trump." Or could it not have been Ethan Hawley, the good guy whose prejudices about his foreign boss and his status as a victim of a society that has left the house in the ditch are about to make unhappy forever, have voted to Donald Trump? After all, all he wants is to believe in the American dream again.


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