The Moon is Down

The servant in Mayor Orden and Madame Orden’s home. Joseph is obsessive and easily overwhelmed, often making matters more complicated than they need to be. He yearns to have an “opinion” about the invasion—wanting to be able to say something interesting and worthwhile about the events to Annie, the cook—but finds himself unable to come up with anything on his own. Instead, he directs his attention to the house’s furniture, trying to put the chairs perfectly in order but finding that somebody always moves them an inch or so. “In a world where Mayor Orden was the leader of men,” Steinbeck writes, “Joseph was the leader of furniture, silver, and dishes.” As such, Joseph often rushes to a chair after somebody has stood up, correcting its position and monitoring the other pieces of furniture. His attention to these matters is indicative of the novella’s overall concern with the matters of order and control—concepts that dominate many of the characters’ inner lives.

Joseph Quotes in The Moon is Down

The The Moon is Down quotes below are all either spoken by Joseph or refer to Joseph. 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 8 Quotes

Winter walked to one of the gilt chairs, and as he was about to sit down he noticed that its tapestry was torn, and he petted the seat with his fingers as though that would mend it. And he sat down gently because it was torn.

Related Characters: Mayor Orden, Doctor Winter, Joseph
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Moon is Down quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Moon is Down LitChart as a printable PDF.
The moon is down.pdf.medium

Joseph Character Timeline in The Moon is Down

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph appears in The Moon is Down. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
Inside the palace’s drawing room, the mayor’s servant, Joseph, frets over the placement of the chairs, worrying about their exact orientations while the town’s... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
Doctor Winter asks Joseph where Mayor Orden is, and Joseph says the mayor’s wife, Madame Orden, is currently trimming... (full context)
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Appearances and Civility Theme Icon
Interrupting Colonel Lanser and Mayor Orden’s conversation, Joseph comes into the room and reports that Annie is growing increasingly agitated about the soldiers... (full context)
Empathy and the Effects of Fascism Theme Icon
A loud scream issues from the kitchen, and Joseph bursts through the door. He announces that Annie has thrown boiling water out the window... (full context)
Chapter 3
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
The townspeople move slowly and somberly through the day. In the mayoral palace, Joseph and Annie try awkwardly to move a large table into the drawing-room, where a trial... (full context)
Democracy and Conquest Theme Icon
Order, Control, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Mayor Orden and Doctor Winter come into the drawing-room, dismiss Joseph and Annie, and discuss the upcoming trial. After several minutes, Molly Morden, Alex’s wife, enters... (full context)