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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Latin is SteinBACK in Monterey

Ellie Falk
Dr. Shillinglaw talks with the Project Week group about the land and literature of John Steinbeck, in Ed Ricketts’ lab.

The Upper School Project Week group studying the land and literature of John Steinbeck spent Monday night diving deeper into the true meaning of Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” with noted Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw.

Before taking the trip to California, we read “Cannery Row.” The novel is about a community in Monterey during the Great Depression.

After spending Monday preparing for the week at Costco, competing in the second annual beach olympics, and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, we gathered to discuss the book.

Dr. Shillinglaw, a former SJSU professor, and Director of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, has spent her career studying Steinbeck’s life, literature, and the land he grew up in.

Due to Dr. Shilllinglaw’s knowledge of Steinbeck, she was the right person to help the group indulge in the book and gain a better understanding of the characters. With Dr. Shillinglaw, we talked about the significance of Steinbeck’s choices and philosophy.

The following morning, we ventured to Ed Ricketts’ lab. Doc, the main character of “Cannery Row,” is based on Ricketts. At the lab we learned about Ricketts’ life, his research, and his beer-filled parties. This allowed us to see how realistically Steinbeck depicts not only the Lab, but the rest of Cannery Row.

“Dr. Susan Shillinglaw’s perspective provided context that I wouldn’t have known of, especially even after reading the book,” sophomore Sebastian Lee-Yee said. “There is so much history about Steinbeck, Doc, and other characters in the book that I would have had no idea about even though Steinbeck writes so realistically. She helped paint the picture of what we were actually reading.”

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About the Contributor
Ellie Falk, Staff Writer
Ellie Falk (‘26) is excited to be a Staff Writer on The Forum this year. She hopes to discover what it means to be a journalist through writing news articles and heavily disputed opinion articles in this year's additions to The Forum. Along with The Forum, Ellie spends her time playing tennis and soccer, engineering robots in robotics, being a delegate on Latin’s Model UN Team, and taking advantage of the many STEM opportunities at Latin.

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