Sweet Thursday - Key Terms
Fate is an ironic concept in Sweet Thursday. Fauna uses astrology to predict and therefore manipulate characters' behavior in the text. Her prediction that Suzy will marry someone under the astrological sign of Cancer greatly influences everyone's decision to force a marriage between her and Doc, whom they mistakenly believe is a Cancer. Her prediction that Hazel is to become president of the United States sends him down a path of self realization and burgeoning responsibility that ends with his successful pairing of Doc and Suzy. Though Fauna's predictions are absurdly wrong, they nonetheless manage to bring about the dictates of fate in the novel and so ironically, it seems Doc and Suzy were indeed fated to be together despite the bizarre meddling of the characters on Cannery Row.
In the prologue to Sweet Thursday, Mac offers literary advice to the writer of Cannery Row. While he believes authors have the right to include irrelevant poetic speculation in their work, he asks them to set these sections off under the title of "hooptedoodle," so that he might skip over those parts and not be distracted from the plot line of the story. Sweet Thursday includes two chapters labeled "hooptedoodle," one of which is, ironically, significantly important for understanding the discontent that is plaguing Doc. "Hooptedoole (1)," explores the impetus that leads to the creation of meaningful artistic contributions to culture and explains Doc's desire to add his creation to the cultural fabric. Skipping over this chapter would greatly diminish readers' understanding of both Doc's problem and the novel's point about artistic creation and human endeavor. Thus, Steinbeck fires back at critics who have criticized his propensity for philosophizing by naming one of his most important chapters "nonsense," reminding readers that what some superficial readers might consider a distraction from plot events, is actually critically important to the message of the text.