Bill Owens’ Winter of Discontent

Truth is stranger than fiction. Especially when it’s tangled up in the waning days of Gov. Bill Owens’ political career.

One has to wonder whether conservative politicians ever read classic novels that feature stories of working class struggle.

So in the spirit of sharing this holiday season and with tongue firmly in cheek… Bill Owens, this is your life, as told by John Steinbeck.Here’s my super brief summary of The Winter of Our Discontent. See if you can spot some familiar themes:

Protagonist Ethan Hawley is down-on-his-luck after coming from a family of wealth and influence in Baytown. His previous “fortunes” are being pushed out of the way by a new dynamic of “the Great God Currency” or doing whatever it takes to be successful.

Hawley’s family owned a grocery store that they lost due to financial mismanagement. He now works there as a clerk. When he learns that Mr. Marollo, the new store owner, is in the country illegally, he turns him over to the immigration authorities and reclaims his ownership.

Throughout the story Hawley is lured by financial, moral, and sexual temptations by bribes, business deals, and an affair with a woman.

He swindles a long-time friend in a lucrative land deal by which he later manipulates the town’s corrupt businessmen and politicians. His wife doesn’t understand him. His child humiliates him by plagiarizing an “I Love America” essay.

When Hawley is implicated in a political scandal, he claims he isn’t culpable and was swept up in something beyond his control.

Somebody pinch me!

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About the Author

Wendy Norris

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