The Work of John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was a major literary figure in the 20th century and continues to be widely read in the twenty-first century. Steinbeck was born on February 27,1902 (About John Steinbeck) in the Salinas Valley of California. (Laskov) “His father, John Steinbeck, Sr. was the County Treasurer and his mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former school teacher. As a youth, he worked as a ranch hand and fruit picker. (John Steinbeck )”. “He attended the local high school and studied marine biology at Stanford University between 1920 and 1926, but did not take a degree” (John Steinbeck ). Steinbeck’s fascination with science and biology is evident in most of his works such as in this quote from the Grapes of Wrath: “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up in the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.” (Steinbeck 165) As Steinbeck began his writing career, he took many other jobs to support himself. For a short time, he worked at the American in New York City, and then returned to California where he worked various jobs such as a painter and fruit-picker before taking a job as a caretaker for a Lake Tahoe Estate. (John Steinbeck ) His job as a caretaker allowed him time to write and by the time he left the job in 1930 he had already published his first book, Cup of Gold (1929) and married his first wife Carol Henning (John Steinbeck ). After his marriage he moved to Pacific Grove, California where, in the early 1930s, Steinbeck met Edward Ricketts, a marine biologist, whose views on the interdependence of all life deeply influenced Steinbeck’s novel To a God Unknown (1933). (John Steinbeck )
Tortilla Flat (1935) was Steinbeck’s first successful novel. (John Steinbeck ) “Of Mice and Men (1937), a story of shattered dreams, became Steinbeck’s first big success. In the same year appeared also The Red Pony”. (John Steinbeck ) With his feet firmly planted as a successful America author, Steinbeck had many more pieces published during the next twenty years, including The Pearl and The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath was hugely popular and was later made into an equally popular movie. (John Steinbeck )
John Steinbeck continued to write for the rest of his life, but many consider his writing career to have ended before he received the Nobel Prize.