April 11, 2005
John Steinbeck: A Life in Words
John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 (www.steinbeck.org). He was born at his house at 132 Central Avenue, Salinas, California. He was born of Irish and German ancestry and born into a fairly prosperous family. His main accomplishments show with the constant hard work and diligence he has shown through his career. "...not enough wingspread but plenty of intention(Steinbeck)." The life of one so great that words seem inadequate to what his life and achievements compare to. He was born and raised in Salinas Valley (also known as the "salad bowl of the nation.) in a beautiful land filled with magnificent sites which make their way into some of Steinbeck's greatest novels ever written (www.steinbeck.org). He was the third out of four children and the only boy. His sisters were (in order from oldest) Elizabeth Steinbeck Ainsworth, Esther Steinbeck Rodgers, Mary Steinbeck Dekker (the only buried in the family's plot in "The Garden of Memories" located in Salinas, California). His father, the late, John Ernst II was the Treasurer for Salinas Country and his mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a retired school teacher who quit her job to be a mother to her dear son and feeding his ever so growing curiosity for the joy of books and what it brought into his life. When Steinbeck was old enough, he was hired by nearby ranchers to lend a helpful hand. Steinbeck, however the intellectual he was, loved his job since it allowed him to be around the beautiful countryside of California and the people he had grown to love. He graduated in 1919, ninth in his high school class at Salinas High School(Cox). He was accepted to Stanford University but never graduated and ended up dropping out of Stanford University in 1925 to pursue his dream of becoming a writer; his dream since childhood, which was powered by his mothers will to encourage him to read(Steinbeck). He worked in New York on Madison Square Garden while in search of a publisher but later the next year returned to Salinas and to his family home. He was soon to realize that his dream of becoming a known author would be more difficult then he first thought. He was wed and divorced twice Ms. Carol Henning Brown and Ms. Gwyndolyn Conger, before he met the woman of his life, Mrs. Elaine Scott Anderson Steinbeck, married in 1950(Cox, www.steinbeck.org). His first marriage with Carol Henning failed due to their age and difficulties in their marriage. In a poor attempt to save what they had, he moved into his childhood home with his parents where his father helped the struggling couple but failed and in 1942, the divorce was final(www.steinbeck.org). His second marriage to Gwyndolyn Conger ended due to John Steinbeck's attraction to his current wife. With his second wife he had his first son born on August 2, 1944 named Thomas Steinbeck and his second and last son named John Steinbeck IV, was born on June 12, 1946(Steinbeck). His second son Thomas, passed away on February 7, 1991(Steinbeck). During his divorce between Carol Henning, Steinbeck began to find information about labor unions and interviewed people in preparation for his famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath. As was stated, John Steinbeck was always involved in reading and writing(Steinbeck). He often wrote to ease his mind of certain problems in his life. His mother, who was a retired school teacher, fully supported her sons desire to read anything he could get his hands on(www.steinbeck.org). It was given he was going to make it in life as a novelist. His inspirations being his love for his family and Pigasus (the flying pig he looked up to) made him strive to become a better writer(Cox). Up until his first successful novel was published, John Steinbeck worked various odd jobs while he lived with his parents due to a failing marriage(www.steinbeck.org). He still maintained his goal of being a novelist and worked extremely hard at...