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John Steinbeck Essay, Research Paper

John Steinbeck lived through many exciting times in history. He over came many different types of struggles in his own life. John Steinbeck, a man who had some what of a depressing life, lived through a depressing time in history, and wrote books mainly about depressing and tragic stories.

John Steinbeck lived through an action packed time in history. Steinbeck lived through World War I (1919-1919), which changed America, and its set ways about men and women’s role is society. A year after World War I ended, the proabition started. This became an odd time in American’s history. The proabition law actually made people drink more, because people know they were forbidden from drinking. The proabition law lasted for ten years (1920-1930).

A year before the proabition ended, the stock market crashed in 1929. This day became known as “Black Tuesday”. The stock market crash sent America into the Great Depression (1929-1941). This was the time when Americans did not trust banks, and were barely feeding their families. Three years after Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1936. World War II begun in 1939. This war lasted for five years. World War II was fought against Italy, Japan, and Germany, that caused many Americans to hate Japanese people living in America. Most of the Japanese people were forced to live in camps for “safety reasons” not for them, but for Americans. World War II helped pull America all the way out of depression, by 1941. At this time Steinbeck was an employer at the New York Herald Tribune (John 1). Steinbeck used his once in a lifetime experience and wrote Once There Was War (1).

During this time span between 1914, and 1945, societies values went back and fourth. For an example, after World War I, and during the proabition most people wanted to party and drink all the time. This fifteen years time span plenty of people were coming into “new money”. Some because they were bootleggers, others because they knew how to do business. Although they would never have the social status of the “old money”. When the stock market crashed and the proabition ended between 1929, and 1930. The “new money” disappeared right away. It did not matter id people were good business mert or had any alcohol to sell. The Great Depression totally changed their life style, moreover, their view on life. The want to have fun, and go to parties totally stopped, and people’s main concern became can their children get fed; can the family continue to live in the house, and can the family support the family, among many other fears.

After World War II, and the Great Depression ended, people started to buy fancy items again, and life became better in America. Johns Steinbeck Jr. and Olive Steinbeck were blessed with John Steinbeck Jr. on February 27, 1902 (Cox 1). Steinbecks father worked the countries treasures position, while his mother, Olive, was a housewife (John 1). John Ernest Steinbeck, Sr. had a private get away home for his family (Cox 2). The Steinbecks get away home was in Pacific Grove on 147 Eleventh Street (2). The Steinbecks spent many summers there.

Steinbeck had a good relationship with his parents. Steinbeck visited his parents often during his adult life. Steinbeck took care of his parents when they got older and became sick with illnesses. Steinbecks mother could barely function at all by the fall of 1933. (Parini 138). Steinbecks father had a nervous breakdown from the stress of what was happening to his wife that same fall (138). Steinbeck took the advice of his first wife Carol, and gave his mother professional health core (138). Steinbeck took his wife and father and moved to Pacific Grove (138). The next two years would bring Steinbeck much sadness. Steinbeck lost his mother in 1934 (Necory 3). Steinbeck lost his father one year later in 1935 (3).

Johns Steinbeck attended Salinas High School for four years and earned his diploma in June of 1919 (1). Steinback would go on to Stanford University in the fall of 1919, at this time he was a young man who thought he contained more knowledge than he had in reality (Pacini 22). The summer before Steinbeck started college, he worked outdoors in Salinas, and became a strong young man (22). Steinbeck did not go off to college expecting to have to work at all. Steinbeck did not put much effort into high school and college blind sided with the level of he had to do (22).

Steinbecks mother became over protective of him. Olive Steinbeck wanted to see her son in a line of work that would guarantee a nice pay (23). Although Olive Steinbeck did not want Steinbeck going to Stanford, she came to terms with the fact that her son would have happiness as a writer (23). Olive Steinbeck made it a rule that Steinbeck check in at their family home weekly (23). “As one friend said later, “It was rather humiliating for him but his mother stipulated that he report home like that, and he did, though it made him angry as hell.” (23-24) Steinbeck did not have many friends at all during college. Steinbeck got close to one young man named George Mors (24).

Many great American writers had a few things in common, for an example Steinbeck, and other writers did not keep good grades (23). Steinbeck had a bad drinking problem all through his life. Steinbeck started drinking booze in college (24). Steinbeck always looked for a way to escape life as “ a man suffered regular bouts of depression, he turned to alcohol as a mood- altering substance: away of digging himself out of a trough that, of course, that only lowered him deeper into the depth as soon as the temporary high had worn off (Parini 25).” Alcohol remained a big part of his life (24-25). Steinbeck was a student at Stanford University for six years, he finally left the school in 1923 (Neary 1). Steinbeck never accomplished a major during his six years at the college (Parini 23).

Steinbeck lived to be sixty years old. During his life he had three wives. Steinbeck had a marriage with Carol while he worked to become a great writer (Cox 2). John and Carol lived in many homes together through out their eleven year marriage. Their first home they owned was in Los Gatos (2). This house was the first of many propitics owned by John Steinbeck (2). John and Carol Steinbeck had a dream home built (2). While waiting for new homes final touch ups their relationship started to fall apart (2). John and Carol lives went in separate directions away from each other in 1941 (2). After Steinbeck and Carol split up he bought himself a little get away place (3).

It would not even be a whole year before Steinbeck married again. Steinbeck went from one marriage to the next with Gwendolyn Conger. After Steinbeck and Gwendolyn were married they started their new lives together in New York City (3). Their stay in New York lasted one year. They decided to settle in Monterey in 1944 (3). Steinbeck would not stay in Monterey for long (3). While Gwendolyn and Steinbeck were living there, they were blessed with their first baby boy Thom. Steinbeck moved Gwendolyn and Thom to New York after living in Monterey (3). Steinbeck stayed married to Gwendolyn for only five years (Neory 1).

One year later Steinbeck meets Elaine Anderson and falls in love (1). Steinbecks last marriage was his longest. His marriage to Elaine was for eighteen years. Steinbeck and Elaine were married in 1950 (1).

Throughout Steinbecks three marriages, he had two sons (Neory 1). Steinbeck had his oldest son on August 2, 1944 (1). Steinbecks second wife, Gwendolyn, gave him another son on June 12, 1946. Steinbeck did not out live neither of his children, but his oldest son died on Feb 7, 1991 (1).

Steinbeck became a well known writer, but kept his private life private from the public (John 1). The following speeches shows Steinbecks simple and direct view of literature:

Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of

Human need for it and it has not changed

Except to become more needed. The sadness,

The bords, the writers, are not separate and

Exclusive. From the beginning, their functions,

Their duties, their responsibilities have been

Decreased by our species… the writer who does

Not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man

Has no dedication nor any membership in literature (2).

Steinbeck started his writing career full time in 1925 (1). Steinbeck had moved to New York City, but had no result and then moved back to California (1).

Mexico became an important factor in Steinbecks writing career (Parini 28). Mexico would become a part of Steinbeck and vise versa, it became another home for him. Steinbeck worked for sugar companies in the 1920’s (27). Characters in Steinbeks books often were based on people he worked with on the sugar ranches (32). Steinbeck used his whole life as a part of his writing life; from where he lived to people he encountered. “The early 1930’s were a time of struggle for Steinbeck not in his writing, and in his day-to-day existance, but prosperity finally comes in the mid 1930’s (John)”

Steinbeck worked on many different projects before he finally had his first book, cup of Gold (Parini 43). Steinbeck had Cup of Gold published in 1929, but the book did not get a good review (John 1). Steinbeck thought he approached the book with the wrong view. Steinbecks next book, To a God unknown, had a laid back, dream world view to it (Parini 145). “To a God unknown appread in late November, and once again there were almost no reviews; the few that did appear lacked enthusiasum (145).”

Steinbeck would have two more years before his career would pick up. “Tortilla Flat (1935) marked the turning point in Steinbecks literary career (John 1).” Steinbeck got his ideas for Tortilla Flat while in Pacific Grove (John 1). After Tortilla Flat, Steinbecks career went on a roll with many new novels. For an example, he wrote Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath (Cox 2).

Once Steinbecks career got started up he won many awards. Steinbecks first award he won was the California common wealth clubs gold medal for best novel by a California author (John 1). Steinbeck won this award with the book Tortilla flat. Steinbeck became the sixth author to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962 (1).

Steinbeck received many more important awards through out his writing career. For an example, in 1964 Steinbeck won the United States medal of freedom, Trustee of John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, Annual Paperback of the year, and Press medal of freedom awards (Neary 2).

Steinbeck departed from this earth in the arms of his wife in New York City on December 20, 1968 (1). Steinbecks ashes now are at rest in the Garden of Memories Cemetery family polt in his hometown of Salinas (1).

John Steinbecks books show how he writes depressing but also good stories. Steinbeck aimes for a teenager to an adult audience for his books. The pearl shows a story about a family that goes through many depressing and tragic experiences, but keeps you curious enough to read the whole book.

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