Thoughts on “The Murder”

This is a difficult story. Readers who finish this one will generally have a strong reaction to the events leading up to the “murder.” And that’s precisely what I think Steinbeck was going for. One of the difficult things about this story is the traditions and customs of other, foreign cultures. It’s very easy for us to judge Jelka’s father for the advice he gives to Jim at the beginning of the story, but that’s because we’ve been raised with certain values and beliefs that are different from his. Does his advice prove true by the end of the story? Or does Jim go to far in following it? And is the “murder” justified by Jelka’s actions? What do you think Steinbeck is trying to say by telling this story?

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