Cannery Row


John Steinbeck

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Horace Abbeville Character Analysis

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, he visits Lee one day and asks if his debt will be forgiven if he gives the grocer ownership of his fishmeal storehouse. After considering this prospect for a moment, Lee agrees that this will indeed make up for everything Horace owes, and so the two men make the deal. Walking out of the grocery store, Horace then makes his way to the storehouse, where he kills himself. In the aftermath of his death, Lee Chong gives Horace’s wives free groceries and pays for the funeral. Eventually, Mack and “the boys” move into the fishmeal storehouse, which becomes the Palace Flophouse.

Horace Abbeville Quotes in Cannery Row

The Cannery Row quotes below are all either spoken by Horace Abbeville or refer to Horace Abbeville. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Cannery Row published in 2002.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Lee Chong stood in back of the cigar counter and his nice brown eyes were turned inward on a calm and eternal Chinese sorrow. He knew he could not have helped it, but he wished he might have known and perhaps tried to help. It was deeply a part of Lee’s kindness and understanding that man’s right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary. Lee had already underwritten the funeral and sent a wash basket of groceries to the stricken families.

Related Characters: Lee Chong, Horace Abbeville
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
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Cannery Row PDF

Horace Abbeville Character Timeline in Cannery Row

The timeline below shows where the character Horace Abbeville appears in Cannery Row. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
...this particular evening, he contemplates a business deal he made earlier in the day, when Horace Abbeville—who has “two wives and six children” and an enormous outstanding debt at Lee’s store—walked... (full context)
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
Loneliness, Melancholy, and Happiness Theme Icon
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
After Lee and Horace strike this deal, Lee gives him a flask of Old Tennis Shoes, at which point... (full context)