The Moon Is Down

The Moon Is Down

infobox Book |
name = The Moon is Down
title_orig =
translator =

author = John Steinbeck
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = The Viking Press
release_date = 1942
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 188 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Moon Is Down" is a novella by John Steinbeck, an American author. The title refers to a nice phrase spoken by Banquo's son Fleance in Shakespeare's "Macbeth". It was published in March of 1942. The story details a military occupation of a small town in Northern Europe by the army of an unnamed nation at war with England and Russia (much like the occupation of Norway by the Germans during World War II). A French language translation of the book was published illegally in Nazi-occupied France by Les Editions de Minuit, a French Resistance publishing houseFact|date=November 2007. Furthermore, numerous other editions were also secretly published across all of occupied Europe, including Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch and Italian versions.Fact|date=November 2007. It has appeared in at least 92 editions across the worldFact|date=November 2007.

Plot summary

In the story, an invading force arrives at a coal mining town in Europe and North America and takes it over, only Dougie Smith can save them. Their goal is simple: to control the coal mine and organize increased production and exportation of coal. The occupiers soon find themselves in conflict with the townspeople as a resistance movement begins. They try to combat the resistance and force the inhabitants into submission, but realize the futility of this, as it becomes clear the war is lost.

"The Moon Is Down" is a story one can view from both sides. The main characters include both the townspeople and the officers of the occupation force. The conflict starts at the beginning of the occupation as an illusion of a friendly takeover both the invaders and the locals try to maintain, is shattered by the deaths of several people killed because of futile resistance attempts.

At first, things go well. The locals are stunned and confused, and the invaders busily plan and carry out expansion of coal production. Soon enough, a slow, burning anger replaces the people's fear and a ragged resistance movement forms. Random acts of sabotage occur against soldiers and the coal mine. The invaders, under orders from above, impose repressive measures to keep the production going. Their commander follows his order knowing that, in fact, there is little hope of stopping the sabotage for more than a few days at a time. The conquerors say of themselves and their futile efforts to defeat the undefeated motivation of the townspeople, "The flies have conquered the flypaper!" Soon, all semblance of harmony is ended. The occupiers feel isolated and surrounded by hate. Coal production grinds to a halt due mostly to the fact that "Allied" planes have been dropping sticks of dynamite for the people to use to sabotage railroads, food supplies, power sources, and the mine itself. And as several of the invaders are murdered, they begin to realize that their hopes to be accepted as good men bringing a glorious New Order are coming to naught. The townspeople would rather starve and be killed than cooperate with the invaders. The officers and leading citizens are pawns in a fruitless ritual of death modeled on the enmity between Socrates and the accusers who forced him to drink hemlock.


*Mayor Orden - the mayor of the townspeople
*Doctor Winter - friend of Mayor Orden, beloved town doctor
*Joseph - a servant of the Mayor
*Annie - the cook
*Alexander Morden - attacked and killed Captain Bentick with an axe and was sentenced to death.
*Molly Morden - The attractive wife of Alexander Morden
*Will & Tom Anders - flee town to England in order to escape the invaders and ask for foreign aid (weapons and dynamite)

The "Invaders"

*George Corell - popular storekeeper, traitor, and spy. Colonel Lanser treats him poorly because he is a traitor.
*Colonel Lanser - the head of the local battalion; a WWI veteran.
*Captain Bentick - old, Anglophile; loves dogs, Christmas and "pink children." Is killed by Alex Morden in a fit of rage while trying to protect Captain Loft.
*Major Hunter - the engineer; has a model railroad at home.
*Captain Loft - young, ambitious; he lives and breathes the military.
*Lieutenant Prackle - apparently a good artist; had five blonde sisters.
*Lieutenant Tonder - a poet described as a "dark romantic," is killed by Molly Morden after flirting with her.
*"the Leader" - referencing Adolf Hitler, though never actually naming him

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

It was made into a movie starring Cedric Hardwicke, Henry Travers and Lee J. Cobb in 1943.

The novel was also adapted into a play by the same name.


External links

ISBN 0822215993

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