the life and work of the author
Jon Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. Steinbeck’s father worked as the Monterey County Treasurer, and his mother was a former school teacher. His mother helped encourage Steinbeck’s love for reading, and particularly for writing. Although his family was wealthy, he was interested in the lives of the farm labourers and spent time working with them. He used his experiences as material for his writing. Steinbeck worked as a laboratory assistant and farm laborer to support himself through six years of study at Stanford University, where he took only those courses that interested him without seeking a degree. Many of his works take place in California, where he lived. Steinbeck first became widely known with Tortilla Flat (1935) ,a series of stories about Mexican Americans on Monterey Peninsula. His short story, Of Mice and Man , became a bestseller in 1937 This story is about an unusual friendship between two migrant workers (laborers who travel to wherever there is available work, usually on farms). He wrote a number of novels about poor people who worked on the land and dreamed of a better life, including The Grapes of Wrath, which is the heart-rending story of a family's struggle to escape the dust bowl of the West to reach California. The Grapes of Wrath received the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. Among his later works should be mentioned East of Eden (1952), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley (1962), a travelogue in which Steinbeck wrote about his impressions during a three-month tour in a truck that led him through forty American states. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 and he died in New York City in 1968.
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