The Moon is Down

by

John Steinbeck

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A captain serving under Colonel Lanser in the military regiment that invades the town. Captain Loft is “as much a captain as one can imagine,” a man who believes that being a soldier is the highest and most honorable occupation to which a person can aspire. Of all the soldiers, Loft is the most orderly, paying attention to every detail because he believes it is his (and his comrades’) duty to uphold certain “military standards” of behavior, thinking that maintaining these standards greatly affects how civilians view the invaders’ authority. In this way, Loft serves as an extreme example of what it might look like for a person to be wholly and unquestioningly committed to a fascist regime. Indeed, even his fellow soldiers tire of his insistence upon adhering to procedure and decorum, and his wholehearted investment in the war provide a contrast to Colonel Lanser’s weary pessimism regarding their role as conquerors.

Captain Loft Quotes in The Moon is Down

The The Moon is Down quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Loft or refer to Captain Loft. 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:
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Moon is Down published in 1995.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Tonder got out his handkerchief and blew his nose, and he spoke a little like a man out of his head. He laughed embarrassedly. He said, “I had a funny dream. I guess it was a dream. Maybe it was a thought. Maybe a thought or a dream.”
Prackle said, “Make him stop, Captain!”
Tonder said, “Captain, is this place conquered?”
“Of course,” said Loft.
A little note of hysteria crept into Tonder’s laughter. He said, “Conquered and we’re afraid; conquered and we’re surrounded.” His laughter grew shrill. “I had a dream—or a thought—out in the snow with the black shadows and the faces in the doorways, the cold faces behind curtains. I had a thought or a dream.”
Prackle said, “Make him stop!”
Tonder said, “I dreamed the Leader was crazy.” […]
And Tonder went on laughing. “Conquest after conquest, deeper and deeper into molasses.” His laughter choked him and he coughed into his handkerchief. “Maybe the Leader is crazy. Flies conquer the flypaper. Flies capture two hundred miles of new flypaper!” His laughter was growing more hysterical now.

Related Characters: Captain Loft (speaker), Lieutenant Tonder (speaker), Lieutenant Prackle (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Moon is Down LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Moon is Down PDF

Captain Loft Character Timeline in The Moon is Down

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Loft appears in The Moon is Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...for a railroad that will run from the town’s coal mine to the waterfront. Captain Loft is stern, young, and vigorously committed to following military protocol, especially in terms of appearances.... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
One day, Captain Loft enters the palace after a patrol shift. While taking off many pieces of equipment, he... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...set he has in his backyard at home. When Colonel Lanser arrives, he asks Captain Loft to go relieve Captain Bentick from his shift in the mines. “May I suggest, sir,... (full context)
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
After Loft leaves, Lieutenant Prackle asks Lanser when he thinks they will win the war, admitting that... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
At that moment, Captain Loft comes swiftly into the room and informs Colonel Lanser that Captain Bentick has been killed.... (full context)
Chapter 4
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...the villagers wait for the verdict of Alexander Morden’s trial. Inside the drawing room, Captain Loft reads a statement of the events in the coal mine, and Orden tells Alex to... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...to work against his will for the invaders. He says he actually meant to hit Loft, but Colonel Lanser ignores this, saying it doesn’t matter who he hit; “Are you sorry... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
...shoulder, injured. Colonel Lanser jumps to his feet, shouting, “So, it starts!” He orders Captain Loft to go search for tracks in the snow while others look for guns throughout the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...and a feeling that the war isn’t going as well as their government says. Captain Loft enters, and Tonder asks if he hears news from home very often. Loft faithfully recites... (full context)
Chapter 7
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
...several of these mysterious items and bring them to the palace, where Colonel Lanser, Captain Loft, and Major Hunter examine them. Hunter tells Lanser that the packages contain sticks of dynamite... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
...this suggestion ridiculous, since the villagers are too smart to fall for such obvious tricks. Loft objects to his attitude here, saying that something must be done and that Lanser is... (full context)
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
While Lanser and Loft argue about what to do, Mr. Corell arrives. Before Loft leaves, Lanser relents and allows... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
After Loft leaves, Lieutenant Prackle comes in hoping to speak to Lanser, who anticipates the young man’s... (full context)
Chapter 8
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...Orden can remember no more of the monologue, and Lanser tells Prackle to have Captain Loft guard the men who were found with dynamite. He then turns his attention to Orden,... (full context)