Cannery Row

by

John Steinbeck

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The Captain Character Analysis

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 land. However, Mack soon takes an interest in the Captain’s dog, a Pointer with a wound on her leg. Flattering the Captain with compliments about his military service, Mack establishes a connection with him by paying attention to his dog. In response, the Captain invites the entire group of men back to his house, telling them they can raid his personal pond for frogs. Once inside his house, Mack treats the Pointer, and the Captain gives everyone whiskey. The group becomes drunk, and the Captain helps them capture roughly one thousand frogs. Because the Captain’s wife is a politician who is often out of town, he has become a rather lonely man. This is why he ends up welcoming Mack and “the boys” with open arms, glad for a chance to socialize. Eventually, though, he passes out after accidentally burning his wife’s curtains, and Mack and the gang decide they ought to leave before he wakes up.
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The Captain Character Timeline in Cannery Row

The timeline below shows where the character The Captain appears in Cannery Row. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
...he says, adding that they can’t hunt on this land. In response, Mack says, “Look, Captain, we made a mistake and we’re sorry. You’re a military man, aren’t you, sir? I... (full context)
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
“By God, that’s a fine-lookin’ bitch,” Mack says, sensing that the Captain has relaxed. “She’s lame. Tick got her right shoulder,” the Captain replies, and Mack asks... (full context)
Chapter 15
Loneliness, Melancholy, and Happiness Theme Icon
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
In the Captain’s house, Mack applies the “poultice” to the pointer and tells the Captain that the puppies... (full context)
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
Loneliness, Melancholy, and Happiness Theme Icon
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
...“why I bet I’d have a real bird dog in three years.” Hearing this, the Captain tells Mack to take a puppy, saying that he might as well because “nobody seems... (full context)
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
...Mack acts as if he doesn’t want too much to drink, he subtly encourages the Captain to keep pouring glasses of whiskey, eventually suggesting that it would be easier if he... (full context)
Vice and Virtue Theme Icon
Kindness, Empathy, and Friendship Theme Icon
Shortly thereafter, the Captain passes out, and Mack asks Eddie to confirm that the man did indeed offer him... (full context)