John Steinbeck

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Caessar Saldana
May 5, 2013
Eng. II Lang Comp AP
Brown – Pd. 5

Life and Works of the Great American Writer John Steinbeck

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” * John Steinbeck

(“Steinbeck, John”, Q.B.). These words, spoken by the California born author John Steinbeck, fully embody his life and capture the essence of his writing. There are many things that made him such a renowned writer. His experiences during his many jobs gave him much insight and conception to his depiction of the lives of the workers and the state of the country. Steinbeck also was well known for his writing style. His descriptive and thought provoking tales went to the heart of many social and personal problems he witnessed through his lifetime. Not only were they well thought out, but also well written. Steinbeck was a master at imagery and rhetoric through description that not only painted the portrait of the story, but also the emotion, climate, and mood. He was also a versatile writer who explored many different writing styles with strong, direct expression. John Steinbeck was a provoking and influential California-raised American writer whose stories provided an accurate depiction of the twentieth century.

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in the small farming town of Salinas, located on the mouth of the Salinas River in California. He was the son of Olive Hamilton Steinbeck and John Ernst (French 13). Being a small town kid, Steinbeck lived close to the country. He usually worked as a farm hand on a sugar beet farm near his home (“Life of John Steinbeck”, 123Helpme). Because his mother was a school teacher, she instilled the love of writing and reading to young Steinbeck (Florence). He began to write at an early age, taking a liking to describing his life experiences in the fertile valleys of California. In 1919, Steinbeck completed high school and registered at Stanford University in Santa Clara County, California (French 25). Although he was highly interested in his English classes, Steinbeck unfortunately decided that college was too pretentious and superficial. He studied irregularly at Stanford but left often to work in labor factories and farms. In 1925, he unrolled from Stanford to pursue his writing career in New York City (“Life of John Steinbeck”, 123Helpme).

John Steinbeck moved to the city of New York in hopes of succeeding in becoming a distinguished professional writer. He worked many jobs such as construction, maintenance worker and even a writer for the New York American newspaper. Despite all his troubles, Steinbeck simply wasn’t making it big in NY. His works were constantly rejected and the city didn’t give him the inspiration that his hometown brought (French 29). He went back to California to work on writing novels while employed as a caretaker for a lodge living in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe (French 33). Over the years he began to procure his descriptive style, using senses and rhetoric devices to paint an intricate portrait of the landscape he grew up around and the people within it. The majority of his novels take place relatively close from each other, all of them lining Salinas River, allowing him to give accurate and personal accounts since he grew up in that area (Florence). Steinbeck published two of his first books about the fertile valleys and inhabitants of Salinas, The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown. Sadly, the stock market crashed which thwarted his writing from gaining any critical recognition (Meltzer 44). Subsequently In 1932, the Great Depression began and both of his potential publishers went out of business (McCarthy 13). But that didn’t stop Steinbeck, he managed to turn a small profit by selling his unbound books giving him enough money to write more. It wasn’t until 1935 when Steinbeck became...
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