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John Steinbeck: Biography

John Ernst Steinbeck III was one of the most famous American writers of the 20th century. A winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, he is best known for his novella Of Mice and Men and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, both of which examine the lives of the working class during the Great Depression. Steinbeck wrote in the naturalist style, often about poor working-class people, and his work reflects his wide range of interests, including marine biology, jazz, politics, history, and myth.Steinbeck was born in the small town of Salinas in Central Valley in California, well known region.

Much of his spare time he spent outdoors, either working on farms or roaming over the California mountains and valley, which later became scenes for his novels. He had not much formal education, he entered Stanford University but left it without earning a degree In New York he worked at various jobs including that of a newspaper reporter. In his works he was influenced by :A.REGION and GREAT DEPRESSION mostly in his earlier works. B.SOCIAL THEME- scheme proposed as solution= New Deal (F.Rooswelt), he was interested in politics and its social impact. C.FRIENDSHIP with Ed Ricketts, biologist. Together they underwent an expedition of sea. They observed organisms in the sea- entities. Characteristic features of the group of entities are different from features of the individual. He applied it for people.

They published THE SEA OF CORTEZ. WorksTHE CUP OF GOLDTHE PASTURES OF HEAVENTORTILLA FLAT (short stories)- first critical success, group of people called “paisamos”- mixed people of Mexican, Spanish, and Indian origin. They were simple people, their language was mix of bookish language and slang (big, old words form older English)Second period of his life- social themesTHE GRAPES OF WRATH- Pulitzer Prize; family of Joads driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl.

IN DUBIOUS BATTLEEAST OF EDEN- attention to human psychologyTHE MOON IS DOWN- reaction to WW2, Nazi occupation in Norway, popular, made into play and movie OF MICE AND MEN- tragedy written as a novella, about two traveling farm workers trying to work up enough money to buy their own farm, focuses on the themes of racism, prejudice against the mentally ill, struggle for personal independence THE PEARL- dream for better lifeTowards the end of his life he led quite controversial life (war in Vietnam), he was the great supporter. In Steinbeck´s writings three marked tendencies can be traced:1.the tendency to write allegorically2.the author´s preoccupations with non-teleological thinking3.the author´s concern with the primacy of human dignity

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