A beautifully rendered exploration of the downfall of a good man. Ethan Hawley, a descendant of a proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wife is restless; his teenages children are troubled and discontent, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards. The Nobel commitee in awarding Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent he had 'resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.'