In his classic style, Steinbeck keeps us in the dark and unravels the story in complete control, exploring morality and human nature in each phase of our understanding. Like a magician, he takes us one step at a time: the pledge, the turn and the prestige. Often our judgments of the characters, especially the protagonist, is put into doubt or simply falsified. Until the grand prestige when you are left a little bit on the cliff's edge.
I sometimes feel bad that I am so religiously a fiction reader - why am I not using my time to learn something new? It's books like these that help me justify it. Fiction authors have more public sway than one gives them credit. Steinbeck was able to propose his feelings and thoughts about different political and societal scenarios in a subtle but powerful way - inducing emotions and taking us on a journey. It is subconscious so I probably won't even realise how my opinion has been swayed. But it would've done so.
The stars incline, they do not command
It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.
There is a strange duality in the human which makes for an ethical paradox