Of all the Hamiltons, Will lived with the least unfettered joy but the most money. While his siblings tied sofas to the back of carts so they could take two girls to the dance (Tom) or told bawdy stories to all the town’s women in the fitting room of a dress shop, so that those women left feeling less weight in their tired feet (Dessie), Will sold a lot of cars and ate expensive steak alone at the bar in Salinas.
But let’s not consign Will to the world of robots - let’s not make him the forebear of today’s office drone, the antecedent of the millions of collared-shirt-wearing humans held aloft in New York City office skyscrapers each day from 9-5. No, I think Will understood joy, too. He just calculated it in a different way. It was an input, not an outcome; it was a means to an end, not the end of his day with a few beers and a bunch of buddies.
"From instinct and training in business, he was a fine reader of the less profound impulses of men and women." He understood how to take peoples’ quest for joy, or love, or comfort, or status, and turn it into the money old Sam Hamilton never had. I don’t think he minded sitting alone at the bar, absorbing the rest of the world and storing it for a future deal. Will had his feet firmly on the ground, but in his own way he saw wings.
[[[Because you can think about John Steinbeck's East of Eden always and in every context. Sentence in quotes is from that epic, p. 252 I think based on the preview I can get on Google Books.]]]