Moral Disintergration of America Exposed in The Winter of Our Discontent

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Moral Disintergration of America Exposed in The Winter of Our Discontent      The Winter of Our Discontent    The life of Ethan Allen Hawley, which had for so long held to an irrefutable ethical standard, was about to undergo an unexpected and irreversible change. Likewise he was not alone; progress was descending upon all of New Baytown like the jets which swarmed "with increasing regularity" (196) at the nearby Templeton airfield. With them was coming a new breed, more and more focused on material wealth rather than honesty and principle. Ethan’s fourteen-year old son, Allen, was the embodiment of this new morality by which money was God and "morals are paintings on wall and scruples…show more content…
Under this new law, business was "a kind of war" (115), and as such, casualties were inevitable. To survive, one had to be ruthless, step on anyone who got in the way; "some men had to get hurt, some even destroyed" (239). Ethan could see this reality, from Baker, who used and manipulated anyone he could if he meant he would profit, to his son, who gladly sacrificed his integrity for a watch an a spot on TV. They were mercenaries, focused only on personal gain, and while Ethan said he"wish[ed he] could admire them, even love them the way . . . Allen [did]" (196), just like the jets these soldiers"only function was killing" (196); their actions left him with "a sick feeling as though [his] soul had an ulcer" (196). Ethan’s initial response to the corruption which had overtaken New Baytown was to fight the change. He rebelled against Murullo’s idea of "good business" (28)–business that didn’t give credit, that wasn’t kind, and that only looked after "number one" (27); and he rejected Biggers’ offers of money because they clashed with his ethical standards. Right and wrong were unambiguous concepts to him. But, when Ethan tried to imbue his son with these same values, Alole3n responded by saying, "you want me break the law?" (217). Already he had been consumed by the unfettered greed which Steinbeck saw destroying America. At the root of this plague was "the Great God Currency" (168); money had so

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