Although 'Cannery Row' is short compared to Steinbeck's better known novels, it is packed full of the powerful and delicate, beautiful and insightful writing which Steinbeck is the master of. There is no single story or plot binding the novella together, but the structure of the narrative is found in the many stories which Cannery Row has to tell us. Through clever and precise writing Steinbeck reveals to us characters both unique and universal, colourful and natural. There is happiness and sadness, a little tragedy, and a lot of hope - a picture is painted not just of American people before WW2, but of people who while shaped by their nationality, are not defined by it. Through all of 'Cannery Row' there is a sense that some sort of fundamental humanity will see to everything being okay in the end - Steinbeck comes across as being a great believer in the human spirit, pure and simple, stripped of all its pretentions and possessions, anxieties and angers, nationalities and politics. Steinbeck looks at the world and sees things we don't always see, and he writes honestly about evil when he sees it and unsentimentally about good when he sees that. 'Cannery Row' is the sort of book which makes you look at things a little differently, and leaves you with a peaceful smile on your face when you put it down at the end.