Steinbeck, John. (1902 - 1968).
L i f e
- born in California > portrayed the California paisanos in his writing
- left university without degree, underwent a series of odd jobs
- consistently wrote stories and novels x but: rejected for publication
- eventually received the Nobel Prize for literature
W o r k
- content: lowly dispossessed people with their indignant fear and inherent dignity against the Great Depression background x an universal desire to become a voice for the broken dreams and lives of common people
- form: naturalist methods to examine the inner workings of human mind
- interested in socio-biology: examined the difference between individuals and groups and believed it qualitative rather than quantitative
- concerned with extremely reduced states of consciousness <=> his California predecessor J. London: portrayed idiots, illiterates, and animals
The Pastures of Heaven (1932):
- a collection of short stories about a California farming community
To a God Unknown (1933):
- a novel about a California farmer’s pagan fertility cult
Tortilla Flat (1935):
- a novel about California paisanos and social problems
In Dubious Battle (1936):
- a novel about a strike by migrant fruit pickers and the mood of the mob
Of Mice and Men (1937):
- a folk parable of itinerant farmhands dreaming of a piece of land to own
The Long Valley (1938):
- a collection of short fiction, includes “The Red Pony” and “The Snake”
The Grapes of Wrath (1939):
- an odyssey of a family of dispossessed sharecroppers migrating to the ‘Promised Land’ of California against the Great Depression background
- the family driven from their home both by draughts and banks demanding the payments for mortgages = the trend of migration to western California, the indifference of capitalism
- originally intended as a study of the features of human nature x but: ended up as a novel of social protest: a record of poverty resulting from the Great Depression and draughts, and a chronicle of humanity
- won him the Pulitzer Prize, directly led to the Nobel Prize
Cannery Row (1944):
- a ‘down-and-out’ tale from the dock
East of Eden (1952):
- a family saga following the pattern of biblical Cain and Abel
AuthorJohn (Ernst) Steinbeck. (1902 - 1968). American.
WorkNovelist. Short story writer. Nobel Prize Winner (1962). Author of The Grapes of Wrath (1939).
GenresNaturalism. Social novel. Local colour.
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"How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past"?
From The Grapes of Wrath (1939).