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Word Count: 818
Travels with Charley a book of exploration and self-discovery does not follow the usual Steinbeck manner of writing Steinbeck at the age of fifty-eight living in the 1960s decides that he wants to take a three-month trip around America to try to connect and re-discover the vast country that he often writes about John also suggests that another motive for the trip is to prove himself an able man free of his wifes spoiling habits In a three quarter ton pickup truck that John dubs Rocinante after Don Quixotes horse John sets off with his supplies and a sole companion a blue French poodle named Charley While traveling around the nation that John adores he starts to make observations about the American way of life that can still pertain to todays society Mans constant dissatisfaction is a recurring theme in the novel which John notes in every region of the country As in many a Steinbeck novel John exposes the dangerous faults and failures of a nation yet he still rejoices in the good and noble ways that coexist to create the country Overall Steinbeck develops his common theme of social justice yet he is more relaxed and in essence the story is just of a man on a trip with his pooch Throughout the story John remarks on how Americans are dissatisfied with their lives He comments that there is a restlessness that he observed in almost every place he went I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation-a burning desire to go to move to get underway anyplace away from any Here They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday to move about free and unanchored not towards something but away from something I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every state I visited Nearly every American hungers to move 9 Although this is a very
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