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John Steinbeck Research Paper

1697 words - 7 pages

John Steinbeck Research Paper: Final Draft

John Steinbeck is regarded as the “quintessential American writer.” He created many works of literature that “evoke life in the 20th century with compassion and lyrical precision” (Li). John Steinbeck’s most popular works such as Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Grapes of Wrath (1939) explore the darker side of life in America for farm laborers. Though these works were considered highly controversial, they gained him major recognition. Of Mice and Men was adapted as a play in 1938 and was declared the best play by New York Drama Critics’ Circle. He went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940 for The Grapes of Wrath. In 1962, he was ...view middle of the document...

He never completed a degree as he only selected classes that he felt were relevant to his potential writing career (Schultz & Li). Steinbeck put himself through Stanford as he “worked as laborer for a sugar-beet company, Spreckles Sugar, sometimes laboring with migrants in the harvest field and living with them in the bunkhouse” (Bender).

From his days as a child through college he was a very talented storyteller and writer. He gained friends in high school solely due to his story telling abilities. His friend Max Wagner mentioned “storytelling was natural for him.” (Bender). As Steinbeck grew, his talent for writing grew, and it became his only hobby. He once told his friend Dorothy Vera “I used to sit in that little room upstairs…and write little stories…and send them out to magazines under a false name.” It was not until his sophomore year at Stanford that he formally shared his hobby and talent with others as he “wrote five or six stories about college life…for the college magazine” (Bender).

Steinbeck moved to New York in an attempt to further his writing career. His uncle, Joe Hamilton, got him a job as a “cub reporter for The New York American.” Due to his tendency of “mixing fact and fancy,” Steinbeck was soon terminated and returned to California (Schultz & Li). Steinbeck’s first formal publication, A Cup of Gold, came in 1929 (Schultz & Li). However, Steinbeck did not instantly gain fame as a writer. In 1932, George West of San Francisco News asked Steinbeck to do “a series of articles on the migrant farm labor in California.” Steinbeck, in order to produce an accurate report, travelled to these migrant camps. He came across 3-year-old kids who were severely starved and families that were extremely poor. He noticed a significant disparity between the government-run camps, and camps like “Squatters” where people had to live in the worst of conditions. This shocked Steinbeck and he felt compelled to really understand these people and educate the rest of their horrible circumstances. He even took a road trip along the same route the laborers took from Oklahoma to California, to truly understand their plight (Bender). These people and their struggles became the center of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and his most famous novel The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck produced several other works of literature after these and was universally accepted and appreciated up until his death on “December 20th 1968” (Stubbs). None of these, however, lived up to The Grapes of Wrath.

Of Mice and Men is a novella about two migrant workers, George Milton and Lenny Small, seeking work on a ranch. George and Lenny are more than just co-workers, they are very close friends. George, who is small, sharp, and quick, took on the role of protecting the large and mentally handicapped Lenny. George and Lenny are arriving at the new ranch after Lenny’s mental handicap got them chased out of their last one. Life on the new ranch was smooth in the...

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