Published in 1952, "East of Eden" plays itself as biographical. The narrator, Steinbeck is telling the story of two families; the Trasks and his own family, the Hamiltons. Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck's maternal grandfather, is one of the main characters in the book. Steinbeck's original attempt was to share the Salinas Valley in California, where his family settled after leaving … [Read more...]
John Ernst Steinbeck was an American novelist and short-story writer, who described in his work the unending struggle of people who depend on working in the soil for their livelihood. Steinbeck was born on February 27th, 1902 in Salinas, California and educated at Stanford University. As a young man, Steinbeck worked on a ranch as a fruit picker.
In 1925, when he was in his early twenties, Steinbeck moved to New York City and began trying to form a career as a writer. He was unsuccessful, and 3 years later moved back to California to work as a tour guide at Lake Tahoe. It was there that he met his first wife, Carol Henning and the two married two years later in 1930. He soon moved into a cottage owned by his father and began writing with the gift of paper from older family members. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, Steinbeck later claimed that he and his wife survived off of fish that he caught himself and vegetables from his own garden.
In 1929, Steinbeck's first novel 'Cup of Gold' was published. It is a novel based on the life of privateer Henry Morgan. In the early 1930's, Steinbeck produced several shorter novels and in 1935 he produced his first successful novel called, 'Tortilla Flat'. The novel won the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Metal and in 1942 the book was adapted into a film starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr. It was also during this time that Steinbeck began writing a series of so-called 'California novels' and Dust Bowl fiction that were set among normal, salt of the earth people during the time of the Great Depression. These included, 'In Dubious Battle' (1936), 'Of Mice and Men' (1937) and, Steinbeck's most famous work, 'The Grapes of Wrath' (1939).
'The Grapes of Wrath' became the best-selling novel of 1939 and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction among other esteemed awards. Both 'Of Mice and Men' and 'The Grapes of Wrath' were also adapted into Academy-Award winning films. Throughout the 1940's, Steinbeck continued to write while also serving as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and working with the predecessor to the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services. Steinbeck befriended many soldiers and commanders during World War II and was present for many actual battles in Italy and Germany.
After the war, Steinbeck returned with some psychological trauma and shrapnel wounds and began writing again. By this point, Steinbeck had divorced Carol Henning and his second wife, Gwyn Conger with whom he had two sons, and married Elaine Scott, his third and final wife. In 1952 'East of Eden', Steinbeck's longest novel was published it was also made into a movie which became the famous actor James Dean's film debut. In 1961, Steinbeck published his last novel, 'The Winter of Our Discontent' which was not a success as the public felt that the tone differed too much from his earlier work.
However, the next year, 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in Literature. John Steinbeck died on December 20th 1968 of heart disease and congestive heart failure. He was 66 year old. He was cremated and interred near his parents and grandparents graves in Salinas, California. To this day he remains a literary icon and many of his books are still considered classic literature.
"Cannery Row" is a novel written by the famous American author John Steinbeck and published in 1945. The novel became so successful that the area that Cannery Row was based on in Monterey California was later renamed Cannery Row in it honors. The novel was adapted into a film in 1982 starring Nick Nolte and Debra Winger and a stage adaptation in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary … [Read more...]
"The Pearl" is a novella written by the famous American author John Steinbeck and published in 1947. The story was originally published in an issue of 'Woman's Home Companion' magazine and is the re-imagining of a Mexican folk tale that Steinbeck heard while traveling in La Paz, Mexico in 1940. The novella is considered a parable as it illustrates an instructive message about the evils … [Read more...]
"Of Mice and Men" is a classic novella written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937. The world within the novella is based off of the author's own experiences working as a farm hand in the 1920's and the title of the book is taken from the Robert Burns poem, "To a mouse" which states: “The best laid schemes of mice and men/ Often go awry". "Of Mice and Men" is considered an … [Read more...]