Travels with Charley Reflection #4

During this section of Travels with Charley, Steinbeck has traveled closer and closer to the west coast, through Montana even. As the weather is getting colder he is starting to notice the different climates around the United States. He has also been commenting on the different landscapes from state to state. He traveled through the badlands of North Dakota, which in the day light he hated for being so drab, brown and spiky. He found that in the evening that drab, brown land turned into a golden field with a glowing sunset casting long shadows. He even opted to have a fire to enjoy the view there. He then moved to Montana, where he had never been, and said that he fell in love. I personally have been to Montana and I know exactly why he is falling in love with the state. The beautiful mountains are enough to take your breath away; the slow, “laid back” way of life contrasts with that of the rushed city lifestyle. Steinbeck wrote, “Here for the first time I heard a definite regional accent unaffected by TV-ese, a slow-paced warm speech. It seemed to me that the frantic bustle of America was not in Montana.” (Pg. 158) I found this to be a significant moment in the book because he finally found somewhere different, which seemed more like the America he wanted to see rather than the busy, rush-hour America he was discovering.

Also in this section of the novel Steinbeck has continued to meet rather interesting people along his journey. In North Dakota he met one man, an actor, with a traveling performance and a friendly nature. They met being parked next to each other and the author believed that Steinbeck was of the same profession so they got to talking. But one of my favorite parts was when Charley became a maniac upon seeing a bear out the window. The calm, level-headed dog that I have come to know from reading, turned into a crazy bear-hungry dog. I immediately compared this to my dogs, which are calm for the most part until a cat or squirrel comes running by and they freak out. I could only imagine that they would freak out like Charley if they saw a bear. This section of the book has been intriguing and I am excited to continue to read as Steinbeck is coming closer and closer to the end of his journey.

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