Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

John Steinbeck was an American
author, known for his stories such as “Of Mice and Men”, “East of Eden “and the
award winning “The Grapes of Wrath”. He was awarded many prizes for his work,
the most outstanding one being the Nobel Prize in literature. His work can be labelled
as “Worship of the soil” and political because of his emphasis of both nature
and social critique.

 

He was born in California,
Salinas on the 27th of February 1902, to a wealthy family. John Steinbeck
despite being depicted as shy, had a happy childhood, living with his parents
and siblings. As he aged he grew to love nature, leading to him to use
California’s Salinas Valley as the main backdrop of
his later stories. He wanted to become a writer as early as 14, would spend his
time practicing writing stories. This could have been due to his exposure of
his parent’s love of literature, who would print books in the cellar.
Steinbeck’s mother Olive Hamilton Steinbeck worked as a school teacher, she was
described as a tough and caring woman who originated from Irish decent. His
father John Ernest Steinbeck senior owned a feed-and-grain store and worked as
a treasurer of the Monterey County.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

 

As Steinbeck finished school
he went to Stanford University in 1919, a decision taken to please his parents.
His ambitions in starting a carrier as a writer caused him to repeatedly jump
in and out of college, only attending classed that he thought will improve his
abilities as a writer. This pattern continued until dropping out of college in
1925 without a degree, where he resorted to work manual labour, the stories he
heard from that time would serve as an inspiration for his writings. Steinbeck
used his saved-up money to move to New York and worked both as a failed
construction worker and a newspaper reporter, but eventually moved back to
California and took a job as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe. It was here he wrote
his first novel “Cup of Gold” (1929) and married a woman named Carol Henning,
who was essential in supporting Steinbeck’s carrier as an author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After “Cup of Gold” he wrote
“The pastures of Heaven” (1932) and “To God Unknown” (1933), But it wasn’t
before publishing “Tortilla Flat” (1935) when Steinbeck started to gain public
attention, it was a compilation of comedic stories about pasisano life in the
Monterey region. It was based on the stories he heard from Mexican workers when
he worked as a      manual labourer. After
the success of “Tortilla Flat”, Steinbeck would shift to a more serious tone.
He found himself writing novels that conveyed Social criticism like “Dubious
Battle” (1936), which is about a series of protests by migrant workers against
the plantations in California. This was closely followed by the novella “Of
Mice and Men” (1937) and told a story of two bindle stiffs Lennie and George
looking for work in California. Although these books where successful and one
being adapted into a movie, their critical acclaim couldn’t compare to John
Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939), a book that won Steinbeck a Pulitzer
prize in 1940. The book took place in the period of the great depression and
captured the mood and angst of the nation in that time. It was about a family
migrating to California from the Oklahoma Dust bowl. “The Grapes of Wrath” at
the height of its popularity, The Grapes of Wrath sold 10,000 copies per week.

Steinbeck’s writing style is
precise and colourful, giving the reader a lot of attention to detail in his
stories, either it being to capture the readers imagination or to create
foreshadowing. He was also great at making the reader sympathize with his
characters and make the reader feel conflicted. In the novella Of Mice and Men we
find ourselves sympathizing with Lennie even though he accidentally killed one
of the characters. We knew that Lennie was mentally challenged and never wanted
to harm anyone therefore we looked past his mistakes to root for him, and feel
saddened when he died in the end. His stories came with a narrative or a
message, like his social critique in Grapes of Wrath where people in the belief
that owning land was the only way to escape poverty instead of sharing would in
consequence result in missed out benefits and suffering of others. As earlier
mentioned Steinbeck would often use California and Salinas Valley as the stage
of his stories, being where he spent his childhood would have a profound effect
on him. It is there he would gain an appreciation for nature and as a result
would spend a lot of details on nature in his stories, giving the reader a rich
environment. Therefore, can we label his stories as “worship of the soil”.

Later in his life, Steinbeck
would continue to write. his works can be listed as the following “Cannery Row”
(1945), “Burning Bright” (1950), “East of Eden”(1952), “The Winter of Our
Discontent” (1962) and “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” (1962).
Steinbeck would work for the New York Tribune as a war correspondent during
world war II and join a journey to Mexico to document marine life with his
friend Edward F. rickets. For Steinbeck’s efforts he was awarded the noble
prize in literature, but was faced with tremendous amount of criticism. It said
that Steinbeck was deeply affected by the backlash, it was recorded when being
asked if he deserved the prize he replied with no. Steinbeck even when shunned
by his home town and critics in his time is now recognized as a great author
and an icon in America and Europe alike. Either because of his imaginative storytelling
or worldbuilding.

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Lena!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out