Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on John Steinbeck's The Moon is Down. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Moon is Down: Context
The Moon is Down: Plot Summary
The Moon is Down: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Moon is Down: Themes
The Moon is Down: Quotes
The Moon is Down: Characters
The Moon is Down: Symbols
The Moon is Down: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of John Steinbeck
Historical Context of The Moon is Down
Other Books Related to The Moon is Down
- Full Title: The Moon Is Down
- When Written: 1941
- When Published: March 1942
- Literary Period: American Modernism
- Genre: Propaganda, Wartime Fiction, Novella
- Setting: An unnamed northern European country during World War II.
- Climax: British allies drop aid packages to the townspeople containing dynamite, which the townspeople plan to use to destroy the invaders’ railroad system
- Antagonist: Fascism and the authoritarian mindset that drives the invaders to oppress and conquer the townspeople
- Point of View: Third person omniscient
Extra Credit for The Moon is Down
Macbeth. The title of The Moon Is Down comes from a line in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Immediately before encountering Macbeth on his way to kill the sleeping king, Banquo asks Fleance how his night is going, and Fleance responds by saying, “The moon is down; I have not heard the clock.” Scholars have pointed out that Steinbeck borrows this line as a way of foreshadowing the imminent and unforeseen dangers the invaders face at the hands of the townspeople they attempt to subjugate.
Broadway & Big Screen. In April 1942, just a month after its publication, The Moon Is Down was adapted for the stage and appeared on Broadway. The following year it was made into a movie.