Johnny Bear by John Steinbeck

The work project in the village of Loma was a reclamation project mandated by the reclamation district in the village’s northwestern outskirts. The author’s company was in charge of the project. It entailed draining swampy areas in order to raise agricultural field produce in order to duplicate the southern portion of the village.
The buffalo bar was an ancient, often-quiet public structure. It was constructed with old –boards, a wooden sidewalk awning, and revolving doors. Sawdust was strewn around the bare wood board. It is distinguished by an unfriendly bartender, the same clientele, and the same whiskey quality. The bar functions as an information hub, socialization and relaxing venue for every male above 15 years of age (Steinbeck). The author compares it to a newspaper, theatre, and club. The villagers gathered to drink whiskey, meet friends, play poker, discuss political issues and get acquitted with new information and developments in the village.

Question Three

Physically, Johnny Bear was gigantic and well built however he was clumsy, and his movements resembled an animal even though he was not crippled in any way. Mentally, he had a photographic memory of words and voices even though he had a low capacity to understanding the words and context.

Question Four

The narrator first time to witness Johnny Bear narration of his ordeal with Mae Romeo was surprising, terrifying and embarrassing. He says he flushed, felt the blood pounding in his ears and nearly fainted. Moreover, he was worried about his girlfriend’s reputation.

Question Five

Johnny Bear second appearance was anticipated by the author and therefore less surprising. He revealed that Amy had unsuccessfully attempted suicide by trying to hang herself.

Question Six

Alex describes the Hawkin sisters as noble, honest and kind people of strong character beyond approach. They were role models for the children and a symbol of peace in the village.

Question Seven

Miss Amy was psychologically troubled and had attempted suicide. She had hanged herself and was rescued by her sister who wanted the doctor to be secretive.

Question Eight

The doctor was called to the Hawkins house for the second time because Miss Army had committed suicide. Miss Emalin wanted to ensure the doctor to cover up the true cause of her sister’s death.

Question Nine

Alex hit Johnny at the end of the story because he did not want him to disclose the fact that he was responsible for Miss Army’s pregnancy.

Question Ten

Army Hawkins was of Chinese origin and was respected in the village. She was romantically involved with Alex, a childhood family friend and got pregnant. As a result, she was psychologically troubled and eventually committed suicide.

Enoch and Gorilla

Questions One, Two, Three and Four

Everything seems to go against Enoch in the narrative. First, the old borrowed umbrella, which was supposed to protecting him from the heavy downpour, was less effective despite his efforts to keep it agile. Moreover, it was damaged easily, stabbing him in the back of his neck. Secondly, He was struck on his two front teeth by a piece of steel when he was opening the nutty surprise which consisted of the orange tin box.

Moreover, Gonga’s rude response humiliated and embarrassed him contrary to his expectations of a warm response after pouring his heart to the gorilla. Finally, the waitress at the Paris dinner never liked him even though he was a frequent visitor at the dinner. She is unfriendly and holds him in contempt. She unnecessarily delays to file his order and asks him to leave when he complained.

Question Five

Standing next to the gorilla for the first time had a frightening and terrifying effect on Enoch. The gorilla’s poisonous and loud growls terrify him, and he almost runs away. Like the children, he is reluctant to shake his hand despite being slightly older.

Question Six

Enoch was envious when he encountered the gorilla for the second time. He was jealous of the attention the gorilla received from members of the public.

Question Seven

Enoch wants to be a gorilla to receive the fame, honor, and admiration from the people.

Question Eight; Social isolation in Enoch Emery and Johnny Bear

Social isolation is a chronic psychological disorder affecting an individual’s relationship with the society. It refers to the complete or limited lack of contact between an individual and the members of the society. Both the Enock Emery and Johnny Bear’s narratives illustrate social isolation as a dominant theme.

In John Steinbeck’s narrative, Johnny Bear most of the characters experience social isolation. First and foremost, the buffalo bar, one of the few social public places is ironically described as the quietest bar he had ever known with an unfriendly bartender. Secondly, the main character Johnny Bear is compared to an animal, a lonely man with no family or friends. The imagery of bear portrays the social isolation from humanity. Moreover, the author loses touch with the social life of Lama as he walks by the Hawkins homestead unperturbed by the unusual darkness and silence. The peak of social isolation is achieved when Miss Army commits suicide due to guilt and fear of failure to meet the high standards and expectations of the villagers as a community conscience.

Enoch Emery is an epitome of social isolation in the narrative. He is lonely as he stays alone. He is often despised and disliked by other characters in the narrative including the landlady, the waitress, the children and the gorilla. The handshake with the gorilla was the first he had ever received which proved his limited interactions with other people. “It was the first hand that had been extended to Enoch since he had come to the city” (Flannery O’conner). He yearned to be honored and admired by the public. He was envious of the fame and honor accredited to the Gonga. As a result, he killed the gorilla star character and stole his identity-An ultimate representation of isolation from humankind. Despite this, he remains alone staring at the sky.

Works Cited

Flannery O’Conner ;Wise blood; Enoch Emery 1952.

Steinbeck J; Johnny Bear.1990.

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