Check out my Travels With Charley book summary and review that I created to help you understand the basics of this great book. Travels with Charlie: In Search of America is a 1962 travelogue by American author John Steinbeck. It depicts a road trip around the United States in 1960 with Steinbeck and his standard poodle Charlie.

Steinbeck writes that he was inspired by the desire to see his country on a personal level because he made his living writing about it. He wrote that there are many questions in his journey, the main one of which is "What are Americans like today?"

Travels With Charley
However, he found that he was concerned about a lot of the "new America" ​​he had seen. Steinbeck tells of a trip to the United States in a specially designed camp named after Don Quixote's horse, which he named Rosinante.

His voyage begins on New York's Long Island and follows roughly outside the United States, from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, from his native Salinas Valley in California to Texas, through the deep south, and then back to New York. One such trip to York encompasses about 10,000 miles.

 Travels With Charley book summary :

Part One:

Steinbeck opened the book with a description of his lifelong aspirations and his readiness to rediscover what he felt he had lost contact with after living in New York City and traveling to Europe for 20 years.

He was 58 years old in 1960 and towards the end of his career, but he felt that when he wrote about America and its people he was "writing something he did not know, and this [he thought it was a crime in the case of a so-called writer". He bought a new GMC pickup truck, which he named Roquinante, and it was fitted with a custom camper-shell for his travels.

At the last minute, he decided to take his wife, 10-year-old French poodle Charlie, with whom he had many emotional conversations as a device to explore his thoughts. He had planned to leave his summer home at Sag Harbor on the eastern edge of Long Island after Labor Day, but his trip was delayed by about two weeks due to Hurricane Donna, which hit Long Island directly.

Steinbeck's task of rescuing his boat in the midst of a hurricane, which he described in detail, foreshadowed his fearless, even reckless, mental state and his courage in making a long, difficult and ambitious cross-country road trip by himself.

Part Two:

Steinbeck began his voyage from Long Island to Connecticut, crossing the U.S. Navy's submarine base in New London, where many new nuclear submarines were stationed. He spoke to a sub-sailor who enjoyed being with them because "they all kind of - offer the future."

Steinbeck credits future uncertainties for rapid technological and political change. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer.

He later spoke to a farmer in New England. The two conclude that a combination of fear and uncertainty about the future has limited their discussion of the upcoming election between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Steinbeck enjoyed learning about people by eating breakfast at a roadside restaurant and listening to a morning radio show, although he noted that "if the 'teen-age angel' is at the top of the list in Maine, it's Montana" (35), the top 40 radio stations. And shows the ubiquity of pop culture brought on by media technology.

He moved north to Maine. On the way he noticed a resemblance between the "summer" stores, which were closed for the winter. Antique stores used to sell old "rubbish" that if Steinbeck thought there was room for him, he would have more rubbish in his house than most stores. He stopped at a small restaurant just outside Bangar town where he learned that other people's talkative attitude about life can greatly affect your own attitude.

Steinbeck then traveled to Dear Isle, Maine, to meet a friend of his literary agent, Elizabeth Otis, who spent the summer there. Otis was always excited about Deer Isle, but could never describe how fascinating it was. While driving on Deer Isle, Steinbeck stopped and asked for directions. He later learned from a local that it was not wise to seek directions in Maine because locals did not like to talk to tourists and were prone to misinformation.

When Steinbeck arrived at Deer Island home where he was supposed to be, he met a crooked female cat named George, and he tasted fresh lobster from local water. Afterwards, he moved to North Maine, where he spent the night in a field with French-speaking immigrant potato pickers from Canada, with whom he shared some French vintage.

Steinbeck's description of the workers was sympathetic and even romantic, a clear compliment to his astonishing description of "The Grapes of Rath," which made him famous.Steinbeck then crosses upstate New York to Niagara Falls and Buffalo to the west, then west to New York and the northern peak of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana to Chicago.

At the Canadian border at Niagara Falls, he decided he would not cross Southern Ontario to get to Detroit quickly, as he had planned, because Charlie did not have the proper vaccine to return to the United States. After his confrontation with American border officials, he discussed his dislike of the government.

He said that the government considers a person small because what you say does not matter, if it is not on paper and certified by an official then the government does not care. When he traveled, he described how people's attitudes and beliefs changed wherever he went. All states differ in how people can communicate with one another or with other people.

When he moved to the Midwest, for example, there was a significant increase in population from state to state. Instead of the small villages of New England, she is skirting the growing cities of great production, such as Youngstown, Cleveland, Ackron, Toledo, South Bend, and Gary. The roads, especially the US20 and the Interstate 90 between Buffalo and Madison, Ohio, were wide, wide and fast, and full of vehicles.

Also, wherever he has gone, people's attitudes have changed. When he was in New England, for example, he noticed that people there spoke sharply and usually newcomers waited for him to come over and start a conversation. However, in Midwestern cities, people were more outgoing and willing to come to him.

He explains how strangers talk freely without warning as a feeling of longing for something new and the feeling of being somewhere other than where they were. They were so accustomed to their daily lives that when someone new came to town, they were eager to explore new information and imagine new places. As if someone from outside the city came to their kingdom, a new change came in their life.

Traveling further, Steinbeck discovered that technology is advancing so fast to give Americans more and more instant gratification, be it vending machines or mobile home soup. Steinbeck was interested by Mobile Home. He thought they showed a new way of life for America, reflecting the attitude that you should be able to pick up and leave if you don't like a particular place.

He reflects on the roots, finds much to admire in both going and staying, and finds a secret language and friendship among the trackers. At the end of the section, Steinbeck came to Chicago to meet his wife. After dropping Charlie off at a housekeeper, she hurries to her hotel and finds that her room is not ready yet.

Exhausted and cluttered, he makes a deal with the hotel to rent a room that has not been cleared since the last resident, and once goes into the room to find out what the previous tenant, whom he referred to as "Harry," has left.

Back then, creating a half-grounded, semi-fictional concept led him to spend the evening with a traveling businessman who hired a woman, although Steinbeck believes they didn't enjoy their time much.

Part III:

Steinbeck traveled to North Dakota across Wisconsin and Minnesota. He traveled along U.S. Highway 10 via St. Paul on an "evacuation route" that would be used in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack. He called it "a road designed by fear" and gave birth to one of Steinbeck's many perceptions of American society: the fact that the country was driven by fear.

Once through St. Paul, he visits the Sioux Center, the birthplace of author Sinclair Lewis, but is disappointed to talk to locals at a restaurant who don't understand Lewis. Stopping at a dinner for directions, Steinbeck realized that Americans were often oblivious to their surroundings and their own culture.

He further alleges that Americans "put cleanliness first at the expense of taste". He lamented that "it seems as if the natural controversy of the people is dead" and he was concerned that the Americans have become too comfortable and are no longer willing to take risks and rebel, the two characteristics that made the country great.

Crossing North Dakota, Steinbeck said that Fargo has always fascinated him as a place where winters are (seemingly) cold and summers are hotter than anywhere else. He finds the original Fargo just like any other busy American city, but says the reality of Fargo does not interfere with his old mental image.

 Driving across North Dakota, Steinbeck decided that the original dividing line between East and West was on the Missouri River. East of the river, the scents and views were originally "east"; The river was west where the "west" really began. Steinbeck crossed North Dakota and came to Montana, where he declared, "I fell in love with Montana."

He explained that Montana was a place that was not affected by television; A place with kind, restless people. "It seemed to me that the American insanity was not in Montana." He went to the battlefield of Little Big Horn. He traveled through "Injuna Country" and thought of a writer who wrote a novel about the war against the Nez Pers tribes.

Steinbeck and Charlie then traveled to Yellowstone National Park, a place full of natural wonders where he said that "America represents nothing more than Disneyland." In the park, polite and non-confrontational Charlie showed one aspect of himself that Steinbeck had never seen: because of Charlie's canine instincts, he would bark like crazy at the bears he saw on the side of the road.

The pair then briefly stop at the Great Divide on Rocky Mountain before heading to Seattle. Steinbeck looked at the Columbia River and reflected how the American explorers Lewis and Clark first felt when they came west. He noted the changes that have taken place on the West Coast over the past 20 years: "As I approached Seattle, the incredible change became clear ... I wonder why progress looks so devastating."

 Steinbeck then sailed down the Pacific coast via Oregon and California. On the way, Steinbeck's overloaded truck Rockinant had a flat tire and had to change it in a rainstorm. "It was clear the other tires could go off at any moment, and it was Sunday and it was raining and it was Oregon," he wrote in the retelling of the Steinbeck event. (185) Although specialized tires were difficult to come by, the problem was solved within hours by the unexpected generosity of a gas station attendant.

Steinbeck then visited the giant redwood trees that he had come to admire and worship during his lifetime. He said "the money, the most slap-happy and unpleasant man, in the presence of the Redwoods, goes under the spell of wonder and respect."

 When Charlie refuses to pee on the tree (a "salute" to a dog, as Steinbeck comments), Steinbeck comments: I would have killed him.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley area of ​​Monterey County, California, and described his return to the area after a 20-year absence. Commenting on many changes, he noted population growth and progress in the Monterey area.

He then visited a bar in his youth where he met his old friend Johnny Garcia and learned that many regular and childhood chameleons had died. Then, for the last time, on pages 205 to 208, Thomas Wolfe's book, You Can't Go Home Again, hinted at saying goodbye to his hometown.

Climbing Fremont Peak, the highest point of what would one day be called "Steinbeck Country", bids farewell to the place he made famous in his novels. "I've printed my eyes once more, south, west and north, and then we've quickly moved on from a permanent and unchanging past where my mother is always shooting a wild cat and my dad is always burning his name in his love."

Part Four:

Going east again, Steinbeck then cut through the Mojave Desert, where he decided to shoot (but didn't do) about a pair of curious coyotes. Reflecting on the resilience of desert life, he instead opened a can of dog food for the coyotes. He moved to Texas, where he and his wife, Elaine Amerillo, joined a rich cattle ranch called Thanksgiving and joined "Arji."

Steinbeck, whose third wife, Ellen, was a Texan, spoke at length about the Lone Star State and its citizens and culture. He felt that "people passionately love or hate Texas passionately," which he described as "the mystery of intimately guessing a religion," but he loved and respected Texas.

After giving his Thanksgiving details on the farm, Steinbeck moved to New Orleans where he witnessed angry and racist protests by white mothers outside the recently integrated William Frantz Elementary School in the Ninth Ward. The meeting disappointed him.

As Steinbeck approached Virginia, he said that in his heart, his journey was over. His journey came to a halt on a journey and became something he had to endure until he reached his home in New York again.

After passing through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Steinbeck finds himself back in New York where, ironically, he realizes he's lost and has to ask for directions home. Since he lost a good deal of his journey, at the end of the story it becomes clear that the loss is a metaphor for how much America has changed in Steinbeck's eyes.

 America, it seems, is in a sense disoriented and so endangered because it is heading towards an uncertain future characterized by massive population changes, ethnic tensions, technological and industrial changes, and unprecedented environmental destruction.

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