Essay, Research Paper: John Steinbeck

Literature: Grapes of Wrath

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John Steinbeck was born in February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. Salinas was
an agricultural valley in California. His father was the county treasurer and
his mother was a schoolteacher. This is where his education began from a mother
that encouraged him to read. The community was a comfortable environment for him
to live in because of the encouragement of independence and initiative. His
parents didn’t want him to be a writer. They wanted him to have a true
profession as a lawyer. His early interest in reading led him through school,
with his main interest in science. At age 15 he decided to become a writer,
influenced by an English teacher, and faintly remembered by schoolmates for
spending so much time in his room writing. After graduating from high school, he
went to Stanford University in 1920. While he was there for five he contributed
to the school paper by writing poems and comics. He took courses in science and
writing, but never received a degree. In 1925, when he left Stanford, he became
a marine biologist. He moved to New York in 1925 to work as a reporter for a
newspaper. Always being a non-conformist, he was fired from the newspaper for
writing opinions instead of facts. This started the many jobs he would be a part
of in his lifetime. Some of these jobs include an apprentice hod carrier, an
apprentice printer, a working chemist, caretaker of Lake Tahoe Estate, surveyor
in Big Sur County, and a fruit picker. He also worked other more physically
labored jobs, such as a rancher, road worker, deck hand, cotton picker, and
bricklayer. While involved in these jobs, he made many close friends that he
came to admire because of their “cant and hypocrisy” which he applauded and
whom all of these people soon were characters in his novels. Many of these
experiences were the “helpers” to his many novels. His fruit picking and
Great Depression led him to write The Grapes of Wrath, his best known and most
ambitious of his works. Also, he wrote Of Mice and Men, which was formed from
his job as a hired hand on the many farms he worked. Many things affected his
writing of the time period of which he wrote. Things like the Great Depression,
World War 2, and the Vietnam War are the major influences. World War 2 was when
he was working for the federal government as a writer, so his works focused on
greed and materialism in the beings of modern civilization, Cannery Row and The
Wayward Bus are two good examples of this idea. After World War 2, he wrote
mainly of several outcasts. The Grapes of Wrath was an influential piece from
the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl that existed in California. It is about
the migration of farm families, leaving their old towns to become “ghost
towns.” A bit of inventions came into effect during this time period.
Technology was changing the way that Americans lived and worked. The player
piano was invented in 1905. Henry Ford Model T in 1908. Everyone has heard of
the Titanic right? Well, it sunk in 1912. One of the most important things that
has ever happened in history occurred in 1921. Yes, your right, it was the date
of the first Miss America Pageant. The Great Depression began in 1928. The great
Golden Gate Bridge was also completed in 1937. John Steinbeck and F. Scott
Fitzgerald seemed to divide America up into a new age or era. Fitzgerald seemed
to work more with the rich, finding pity and terror in them. Steinbeck took to
the growing of California, the Depression, and poverty. John Steinbeck won the
Pulitzer Prize award for his book The Grapes of Wrath in 1940. He also won the
Nobel Peace Prize award in 1962. He was the sixth American to win the Nobel
Prize for literature. His novel, Tortilla Flat, received the California
Commonwealth Club’s annual gold medal for the best novel by a California
writer. It was adopted for the stage and sold to Hollywood. He focused somewhat
on nature, with some “humor,” but seemed to have sympathy for “the
oppressed, misfits, and the distressed.” He wrote about conflicts between his
feelings for nature and his sympathy for human beings. To be natural and not
respectable, was in his fiction, the controlling force of the universe. He was
best known for his basis on the American experience often with sympathetic focus
on the poor, eccentric, or the dispossessed. The Grapes of Wrath, which he wrote
in 1939, was his best known and most famous work. It won the Pulitzer Prize in
1940. This book consisted of a family that migrated from the Dust Bowl to
California to finally experience death, disease, and starvation. This book, like
many of his works, turned out to also be a famous movie. He was married 3 times.
He fathered two boys to his second wife. Their names were John and Tom. John
Steinbeck died on December 20, 1968 in New York City. We searched if he died if
some kind of illness, but we found nothing. So he must have died of natural
causes.


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