I’m pretty sure this is the first great work of literature that uses the word ‘shit-heel’ in it.
So far everyone who runs a business is a thief or a son-of-a-bitch. Steinbeck seems to be saying that nobody who runs a business is any good. And while I get his point of speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves, the taken-advantage-of, it’s a more nuanced argument than just black and white.
Calvino wrote in ‘If On A Winter’s Night’ about a series of stories that all have beginnings and no endings and that are all connected through some complicated outside force.
This novel is similar except the stories are people and though their lives have more than beginnings, the family keeps circling a sort of psychic plughole that never drains but rather sort of bubbles everything back up into the tub.