John Steinbeck Biography

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John Steinbeck Biography

John Steinbeck

Born: February 27, 1902Salinas, California

1919Graduation from Salinas Highschool, enrolls in Salinas University.

1925Travels to New York City to start his life as a writer. He never got his degree.

1926Returns to California.1929Writes first novel, Cup of Gold.

1935Dust Bowl: Prolonged drought in the first part of the 1930s has wreaked ecological havoc on the American Midwest. Crops have died, and with nothing to hold down the soil the region has become plagued by catastrophic dust storms. Steinbeck is moved by the plight of the thousands of farmers moving west to seek work and escape devastation at home.

1937 Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men is published. The stage v version of the book, also authored by Steinbeck, opens in New York on 23 November, earning him a New York Drama Critics Circle Award. In the same year, Steinbeck for the first time travels to Europe—including a stop in Russia—as a journalist.

1939The Grapes of Wrath is published. It is Steinbeck's greatest critical success. The book is wildly popular with readers, but also attracts virulent critics who decry the book's "vulgar" language, brutal depiction of Dust Bowl life, and alleged socialist bent. Several libraries ban the book.

1940Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award:John Ford directs the film version of The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Steinbeck receives both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for the novel.

1944Steinbeck's first child, son Thomas Steinbeck, is born.1946Steinbeck's second child, John Steinbeck IV, is born.

1962John Steinbeck is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1966America and Americans is published. The book is a collection of photographs of American life, accompanied by essays written by Steinbeck. It is the last book published in his lifetime.

Death: December 20, 1968New York City

Early YearsSteinbeck was raised with modest means. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, tried his hand at several different jobs to keep his family fed: He owned a feed-and-grain store, managed a flour plant and served as treasurer of Monterey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former schoolteacher.For the most part, Steinbeck—who grew up with three sisters—had a happy childhood. He was shy, but smart, and formed an early appreciation for the land, and in particular California's Salinas Valley, which would greatly inform his later writing. According to accounts, Steinbeck decided to become a writer at the age of 14, often locking himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories.

Early CareerFollowing Stanford, Steinbeck tried to make a go of it as a freelance writer. He briefly moved to New York City, where he found work as a construction worker and a newspaper reporter, but quickly returned to California, where he became a caretaker. During this time, Steinbeck wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold, and married his first wife, Carol Henning. Steinbeck's novel Tortilla Flat was a success, and he later earned the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath, which is widely considered his finiest works.

Later LifeFollowing that great success, John Steinbeck served as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune during World War II. Around this same time, he traveled to Mexico to collect marine life with friend Edward F. Ricketts, a marine biologist. Their collaboration resulted in the book Sea of Cortez (1941), which describes marine life in the Gulf of California.Steinbeck continued to write in his later years, with credits including Cannery Row (1945), Burning Bright (1950), East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961) and Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962). Also in 1962, the author received the Nobel Prize for Literature—"for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"

Of Mice and Men

This novella is a very touching story about two men (Lennie Small and George Milton) and their strong friendship. It's set during the depression of the 1930's, when life was difficult to live alone, as it always is. The novella includes many themes, such as the negative effects of lonliness/ the importance of companionship. There are also many symbols, such as Lennie's puppy, which symbolized the fate of the weak in the face of the strong, which translates with Lennie, as he is also like innocent animal who is unaware of the cruelties around him.

"One can find so many pains when the rain is falling."-John Steinbeck


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