Cannery Row


John Steinbeck

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Cannery Row makes teaching easy.

Cannery Row Characters


A marine biologist who owns, operates, and lives in Western Biological, a laboratory teeming with sea creatures, chemicals, books, and other oddities. Doc is an important figure in Cannery Row, as all of his… read analysis of Doc


An easy-going, wily man concerned first and foremost with living a contented life. Mack is the ringleader of a group of likeminded men who sleep in large empty pipes when it’s raining, drink heavily, and… read analysis of Mack

Lee Chong

A Chinese man who operates a grocery store in Cannery Row. Lee Chong is a serious businessman who runs a profitable store stocked with countless goods—a store that the majority of the area’s residents shop… read analysis of Lee Chong

Dora Flood

The “madam” of the Bear Flag Restaurant, a local brothel. Although the Bear Flag is a prostitution business, Steinbeck portrays it as “virtuous,” “clean,” and “honest.” In turn, he imbues Dora herself with these… read analysis of Dora Flood


A man who lives in the Palace Flophouse with Mack and “the boys.” Hazel comes from a poor family of eight children, and his mother named him after her great aunt, who supposedly had life… read analysis of Hazel
Get the entire Cannery Row LitChart as a printable PDF.
Cannery Row PDF


One of the men that live with Mack and “the boys” in the Palace Flophouse. Like his friends, Eddie doesn’t have a steady job, but he does bartend from time to time at La Ida… read analysis of Eddie


A man who lives with Mack and the boys in the Palace Flophouse. Along with Jones, Hughie sometimes collects frogs and cats for Doc. A less prominent member of Mack’s little group, Hughie… read analysis of Hughie


One of the men living with Mack and his friends in the Palace Flophouse. Like Hughie, Jones often collects frogs and cats for Doc. When the first party that Jones and his friends… read analysis of Jones


A man who moves into the Palace Flophouse with Mack and “the boys” because he wants to get away from his wife. Normally, Gay’s wife simply calls the police and gets him arrested, but she… read analysis of Gay


A boy who starts coming to Western Biological because his mother and uncles are abusive and his father is dead. Before long, Frankie develops a fondness of Doc, who cares for him by buying… read analysis of Frankie

The Captain

A former military captain who finds Mack and “the boys” on his property when they’re on their frog-collecting expedition. At first, the Captain appears with a shotgun and tells the gang to get off his… read analysis of The Captain


An eccentric painter living in the margins of society. Henri’s real name isn’t actually Henri, but he’s obsessed with the idea of embodying the image of an avant-garde Parisian painter, so he presents himself as… read analysis of Henri

Horace Abbeville

A man with two wives and six children, Horace has accumulated an unfathomable amount of debt at Lee Chong’s grocery store. Worried that his children will suffer as a result of his financial woes… read analysis of Horace Abbeville

The Old “Chinaman”

An old man who emerges at dusk each evening and walks through Cannery Row, eventually disappearing beneath a pier on the beach. Then, at dawn, the old man reappears and walks back through Cannery Row… read analysis of The Old “Chinaman”


A boy from Salinas. One morning when Andy is visiting Cannery Row, he sees the old “chinaman” walking through the streets. Although no one ever bothers this old man, Andy feels he must taunt him… read analysis of Andy


The bouncer at the Bear Flag Restaurant before Alfy. Lonely and depressed, William tries desperately to reach out to the people around him, but no one bothers to pay attention to him. After a… read analysis of William

The Greek

The cook at Dora Flood’s brothel, the Bear Flag Restaurant. When William—the bouncer who precedes Alfy—comes to the Greek and tells him that he’s thinking of committing suicide, the Greek doesn’t… read analysis of The Greek

Sam Malloy

A man who finds a large and empty boiler in the “vacant lot” near Lee Chong’s grocery store. Because he and his wife have nowhere else to live, they decide to move into the… read analysis of Sam Malloy

Mrs. Malloy

Sam Malloy’s wife, who—along with Sam—moves into an empty boiler in the “vacant lot” near Lee Chong’s grocery store. Although Mrs. Malloy is happy with this situation at first, she soon becomes tired… read analysis of Mrs. Malloy

Tom Talbot

Mary Talbot’s husband. A cartoonist who frequently experiences financial hardship, Tom becomes depressed when he and his wife are short on money. When Mary tries to cheer him up, though, he insists that he… read analysis of Tom Talbot


The puppy that the Captain gives Mack. As Darling grows older, everyone at the Palace Flophouse falls in love with her, doting on her and letting her do whatever she wants. When Eddie tries… read analysis of Darling


A timid young boy whose father committed suicide by taking rat poison. When Joey’s friend Willard tries to provoke him—wanting, for some reason, to get in a fight—Joey kindly dodges each insult, swallowing his pride… read analysis of Joey


A mean and aggressive young boy who wants to get into a fight with his friend, Joey. Eager to provoke Joey, Willard taunts him by making fun of his father, who committed suicide by… read analysis of Willard

Mr. Carriaga

An old man who comes upon a boy and his dog, both of whom are carrying internal organs. Concerned that these organs don’t look like they belong to an animal, Mr. Carriaga asks around and… read analysis of Mr. Carriaga
Minor Characters
Mary Talbot
A woman who loves throwing parties. However, Mary and her husband, Tom, are rather poor, so Mary rarely has the money to host the kind of gatherings she’d like to host. As a result, she focuses on holding tea parties for the neighborhood cats.
The bouncer of Dora Flood’s brothel, the Bear Flag. Alfy is hired for this position after William commits suicide, and unlike William, everyone takes an immediate liking to him.