Essay about Life Of John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was a writer who used naturalism in his works to to bring

awareness about problems in society that he dealt with in his own life. He

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frequently dealt with the economic and social problems of migrant workers in

California and how they dealt with everyday life. He wrote through his fiction

about what he knew and what affected him personally. Specifically, he wrote

a novella entitled, Of Mice and Men, about two California migrant workers,

George Milton and Lennie Small, who are trying desperately to earn enough

money to buy a couple of acres of their own so that they won’t have to keep

running from there problems all the time. Naturalism was a literary movement

throughout the U.S. and Europe in the late 19th century to the early 20th

century. Naturalism writers had a strong belief in the natural sciences, and

used the ideas of Darwin’s theory of evolution to show how humans are

animals that are changed by external factors, forced to adapt to the conditions

surrounding them (GRO 1). Naturalists often looked at the other side of life,

such as promiscuity, alcoholism, drug use and so on. They saw human beings

as creatures who are controlled by influences beyond their control and

therefore, being denied free will and moral choice. This often made gave them

the reputation of being pessimistic, for there stories were far from fantasy and

the “high life” (GRO 1). Steinbeck grew up in Salinas, California, where he

was born on Feb. 27, 1902. Salinas was a quiet agricultural center close to

the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel and King City. During high school he worked

on nearby farms and ranches. When he graduated from Salinas High School in

1919, he went on to Stanford University where he studied intermittently there,

never receiving a degree. While at Stanford he submitted many manuscripts to

publishing companies but they were constantly rejected. He began taking jobs

at factories for manual labor (LIS 7). He worked as a bench- chemist at

Spreckels beet factory and at the Willoughby Ranch south of Salinas as a

ranch hand (MCC 6-10). In 1925, Steinbeck left California for New York,

where he worked on the construction of Madison Square Garden. After

construction was completed, Steinbeck got a job at the New York American

newspaper where he wrote human interest stories. He was fired from this job

after a short period of time (LIS 7). In 1936, Of Mice and Men r…

…esh and green with every

spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter’s flooding;

and sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch

over the pool (STE 1). Steinbeck wrote many novels that were based in

California in the Long Valley, Of Mice and Men was one of the most well

received (MCC 6). By reading this novel, one can get in touch with the plight

of the migrant workers during the Depression through a work of fiction.

Naturalism literature is one of the better ways writers can express themselves

to the greater public, and Steinbeck has done just that with Of Mice and Men.

He showed no indication of believing in a perfect man, that would be

inconsistent with naturalist thinking that humans are “conditional and controlled

by environment, heredity, instinct or chance” (BLO 77). Also, Steinbeck

shows that in life, nature takes control, as Darwin explained. Lennie was

eliminated from a society where he was not considered normal, he was weak,

and he did not fit with the society (BLO 113). Steinbeck wrote about what he

knew and what he believed, and he raised issues that he felt were important

and told stories of the life that he knew.

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