John Steinbeck: Champion Of The Underdog Essay

John Steinbeck Champion Of The Underdog Term paper

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John Steinbeck had sympathy for “the oppressed, the misfits, and the distressed.” ;Much of his work is marked by a conflict between his feeling for nature and his sympathy for human beings. He can view his characters as living on a purely animal level, moved by forces they can hardly understand or control. He was best known for his basis on the American experience often with sympathetic focus on the poor, eccentric, or the dispossessed. (Hodgins 546) In February 27, 1902 he was born in Salinas, California (McGraw-Hill 191). His father was a merchant and a bookkeeper that became treasurer of Monterey County (Amwest Internet). The father’s side was from German descent. The name was originally Grosssteinbeck (Kunitz 338). His mother taught in one-room schoolhouses all over Monterey County. She was very educated and wanted her son to be a great scientist or scholar (Amwest Internet). His mother’s descent was Northern Irish (Kunitz 338). At Salinas High School, John Steinbeck was well rounded. At age 15 he decided to become a writer, influenced by an English teacher, and faintly remembered by schoolmates for spending so much time in his room writing. He proceeded to graduate and go to Stanford University (Kunitz 1338). At Stanford University he took courses that interested him (McGraw-Hill). He studied small amounts of literature and writing, but he devoted special attention to the study of marine biology (Hodges 546). He studied this because it was his greatest interest (Kunitz 1338). While in college he worked as a laboratory assistant and farm laborer to support himself (McGraw-Hill 191). He left in 1925, after 6 years, without a degree. Ironically later on, most of his surroundings while growing up would influence his writings (Thompson 717). As you will see in his works most of his fiction settings are in or around his birthplace (World Book 885). After Stanford he worked many odd jobs. Some of the jobs would include: a apprentice hod-carrier, a apprentice painter, a working chemist, a caretaker of a Lake Tahoe estate, a surveyor in the big sur country, and a fruit picker. He then decided to move to New York City. While in New York City he worked as a reporter and a laborer. He was later discharged because he wrote reflections instead of reporting facts (Kuntiz 1338). He was dissatisfied in New York after 5 years. He married and moved back to California to set the scene up for his first novel. His first novel was Cup of Gold, written in 1929 (Van Doren 364). During part of his life the United States was going through The Great Depression and Steinbeck was not affected (Van Doren 364). After his first novel, which was not successful, he was not discouraged. He then moved to writing serious fiction (McGraw-Hill 191). He didn’t have much success until the release of Tortilla Flat (1935). Tortilla Flat was a series of humorous stories about Monterey paisanos. His novel, Tortilla Flat, received the California Commonwealth Club’s annual gold medal for the best novel by a California writer. (Amwest Internet) Although his first three books were financial failures he continued to write. Some of his works (in no particular order) would include the following: East of Eden (1952), which was one of his most ambitious novels and also called Steinbeck’s finest novel. Travels with Charley, which was one of his most popular novels, it was about an author touring America with his dog named Charley. Bombs Away: The story of bomber team, which was written during World War II. Dubious Battle (1936), that deals with the strikes of the migratory fruit pickers of a California plantation. The Moon is down ;this deals with the Nazi occupation of a Scandinavian Village. The Long Valley (1938), which was a series of admirable short stories. The Grapes of Wrath (1939), which was the study of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from the land, moved to California where they became migratory workers. This novel won the
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