"And always, if he had a little money, a man could get drunk. The hard edges gone, and the warmth. Then there was no loneliness, for a man could people his brain with friends, and he could find his enemies and destroy them. Sitting in a ditch, the earth grew soft under him.Failure dulled and the future was no threat. And hunger did not skulk about, but the world was soft and easy, and a man could reach the place he started for. The stars came down wonderfully close and the sky was soft. Death was a friend, and sleep was death's brother.The old times came back- a girl with pretty feet, who danced one time at home- a horse- a long time ago. A horse and a saddle. And the leather was carved. When was that? Ought to find a girl to talk to. That's nice. Might lay with her, too. But warm here. And the stars down so close, and sadness and pleasure so close together, really the same thing. Like to stay drunk all the time. Who says it's bad? Who dares to say it's bad? Preachers- but they got their own kinda drunkenness. Thin, barren women, but they're too miserable to know. Reformers- but they don't hit deep enough into living to know. No- the stars are close and dear and I have joined the brotherhood of the worlds. And everything's holy- everything, even me."
Once again, I'm thinking this is another honest-to-God truth told by John Steinbeck regarding American culture. As unfortunate as it sounds, this is what Steinbeck believed the American society felt-- why else would the population waste their money and time? He explains that not only is this a common factor within a man's group of friends, it's something to fill a void, to numb the pain of daily life. Not only does this apply to alcohol, this can also be applied to life in general. Though he mentions drunkeness, not only can he refer to the literal meaning, but I think he refers to anything that the mind lets itself be controlled by-- it could be a man or woman,, substance, object, or whatever. Anything can give you that euphoric feeling --happiness, security, strength-- but it can deceive you as well as it aids you in your moment of need, that moment you need a warm blanket. The world, not only where we reside, in typical America, is full of deceptions, they say. Reading this passage, I begin to think-- is it only the obvious that has it's highs and lows? What else affects ours lifes like this? "he could find his enemies and destroy them" Not only does this ideal of alcohol give us the ability to numb our emotions, it gives us a false confidence. Don't people experience this in everyday life though? Like in relationships, friendships, or social interactions? You make think someone completes you, supports you, or loves you, but in the end, at times, it turns sour. I'm not trying to go all Prohibition on you all, saying alcohol is the problem, yada, yada, yada and all the obvious downfalls, but it is crucial to acknowledge this relation to life Steinbeck is making. He states how everyone, even the Holy (preachers), have their own variation of the "drunken" feeling, no one is above human nature! In Casey's case, his alcohol may be the grass, the land that surrounds him, that provokes him to sleep with the girls over and over, thus dragging him futher in to sin, time after time. It's not only the alcohol that corrupts the soul, but this shows that everyone's got their weakness, their kryptonite, alcohol just seems to be the easiest way to explain it. Once again, another common truth explained in common words for the average American.