John Steinbecks WorldIntroductionJohn Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. He camefrom a family of moderate means. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, tried his hand at severaldifferent jobs to keep his family fed. He owned a feed-and-grain store, managed a flour plantand was the treasurer of Monterrey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was aformer school teacher, who shared Steinbecks passion of reading and writing. Steinbeck wasof German, English, and Irish descent. Johann Adolf Großsteinbeck, Steinbecks paternalgrandfather, had shortened the family name to Steinbeck when he emigrated to the UnitedStates. The family farm in Heiligenhaus, Mettmann, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, isstill today named "Großsteinbeck.". Steinbeck grew up in the beautiful, fertile Salinas Valley,and most of his memorable novels and short stories would be set in California.Early yearsFor the most part Steinbeck, who grew up with three sisters, had a happy childhood. He wasshy but smart and early in his life formed an appreciation for the land, and in particularCalifornias Salinas Valley, which would greatly inform his later writing. Steinbeck oftenlocked himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories and he made the decision at the ageof 14 to become a writer. He viewed himself strictly as a writer, and his decision to go toStanford was made more to please his parents than anything else. In 1919 Steinbeck enrolledat Stanford University, but Steinbeck seems to have had little use for college. Over the nextsix years Steinbeck drifted in out of school and later in 1925, he eventually dropping out forgood in 1925 without a degree. He dropped out of college and worked as a manual labourerbefore achieving success as a writer.CareerJohn Steinbeck was an American novelist. As a novelist, he often dealt with social andeconomic issues in his life as well as in his works. Steinbeck tried to make a go of it as afreelance writer after he leaves Stanford and move to New York, but he failed and returned toCalifornia. He wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929) when he took a job as a caretaker inLake Tahoe, California. The story is based on the life and death of privateer Henry Morgan.
In the same year and place also, he met his first wife, Carol Henning. Steinbeck and Henningwere married in January 1930. With the full support of his wife has influenced him tocontinue writing many works. The Pastures of Heaven, published in 1932, comprised twelveinterconnected stories about a valley near Monterey, that was discovered by a Spanishcorporal while chasing runaway American Indian slaves. In 1933 Steinbeck published TheRed Pony, a 100-page, four-chapter story weaving in memories of Steinbecks childhood andthen a story entitled To a God Unknown follows the life of a homesteader and his family inCalifornia, depicting a character with a primal and pagan worship of the land he works.Steinbeck achieved his first critical success with Tortilla Flat (1935), a novel that won theCalifornia Commonwealth Clubs Gold Medal. It portrays the adventures of a group ofclassless and usually homeless young men in Monterey after World War I, just before U.S.prohibition.All Steinbecks novels can be classified as social novels dealing with the economic problemsof rural labour, but there is also a streak of worship of the soil in his books, which does notalways agree with his matter-of-fact sociological approach. After the rough and earthyhumour of Tortilla Flat, he moved on to serious fiction that related to social criticism. hisfirst serious fiction is In Dubious Battle (1936), which deals with the strikes of the migratoryfruit pickers on California plantations. This was followed by Of Mice and Men (1937), thestory of the imbecile giant Lennie, and a series of admirable short stories collected in thevolume The Long Valley (1938). In 1939 he published what is considered his best work, TheGrapes of Wrath, the story of Oklahoma tenant farmers who, unable to earn a living from theland, moved to California where they became migratory workers.Later lifeIn 1942, Steinbecks divorce from Henning became final and later that month he marriedGwyndolyn "Gwyn" Conger. In May 1948, Steinbeck travelled to California on anemergency trip to be with his friend Ed Ricketts, who had been seriously injured when his carwas struck by a train. Ricketts died hours before Steinbeck arrived. On returning home fromthis devastating trip, Steinbeck was meet by Gwyn, who told him she wanted a divorce forvarious reasons related to estrangement. She could not be dissuaded, and the divorce becamefinal in August. In June 1949, Steinbeck met stage-manager Elaine Scott at a restaurant inCarmel, California. Steinbeck and Scott eventually began a relationship and in December,1950, Steinbeck and Scott married, within a week of the finalizing of Scotts own divorce
from actor Zachary Scott. This third marriage for Steinbeck lasted until his death in 1968. In1966, Steinbeck traveled to Tel Aviv to visit the site of Mount Hope, a farm communityestablished in Israel by his grandfather, whose brother, Friedrich Grosssteinbeck, wasmurdered by Arab marauders in 1858. John Steinbeck died in New York City on December20, 1968 of heart disease and congestive heart failure when he was 66 years old.Noble prizesIn 1962, Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature for his realistic and imaginative writing,combining with sympathetic humor and enthusiastic social perception. However, when hewas asked by a reporter at a press conference given by his publisher, if he thought hedeserved the Nobel, he frankly said no."The writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate mans proven capacity for greatness ofheart and spirit—for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless waragainst weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation. I holdthat a writer who does not believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor anymembership in literature."—Steinbeck Nobel Prize Acceptance SpeechHe also said in his speech, "Man himself has become our greatest hazard and our only hope.So that today, St. John the apostle may well be paraphrased: In the end is the Word, and theWord is Man—and the Word is with Men."Although he is very humble to believe his talent as a writer, Steinbeck talked openly of hisown admiration of certain writers. In 1953, he wrote that he considered cartoonist Al Capp,creator of the satirical Lil Abner, as a possibly the best writer in the world today. At his ownfirst Nobel Prize press conference he stated that he likes Hemingway and Faulkner works.In September 1964, Steinbeck was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by PresidentLyndon B. Johnson. In 1967, at the behest of Newsday magazine, Steinbeck went to Vietnamto report on the war there. Thinking of the Vietnam War as a heroic venture, he wasconsidered a hawk for his position on that war. His sons both served in Vietnam prior to hisdeath, and Steinbeck visited one son in the battlefield. After Steinbecks death, his incomplete
novel based on the King Arthur legends of Malory and others, The Acts of King Arthur andHis Noble Knights, was finally published in 1976.The History of the story Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men is a tragedy that was written in the form of a play in 1937. The story isabout the dreams of a pair of migrant agricultural labourers in California, George and Lennie,who are trying to work up enough money to buy their own farm or ranch. As it is set in1930s America, it provides an insight into The Great Depression, encompassing themes ofracism, loneliness, prejudice against the mentally ill, and the struggle for personalindependence. This story is written through Steinbecks experience in life. Steinbeck lived ina small rural town that was essentially a frontier settlement, set amid some of the worldsmost fertile land. He spent his summers working on nearby ranches and later with migrantworkers on Spreckels ranch. He explored his surroundings, walking across local forests,fields, and farms. As a result, he became aware of the harsher aspects of migrant life and thedarker side of human nature, which supplied him with material expressed in such works likeOf Mice and Men.ConclusionJohn Steinbeck used most of his experience in his life to create wonderful masterpieces in hiswriting works. His works also is used to highlight the issues that raised among the society onthat era. With his talent in delivering messages through pieces of writing, he believes it willhelp him to portray his voice so that people will realized and learn something from him, as asaying goes, his pen is mightier than many swords.
REFERENCES(n.a). (n.d). John Steinbeck. retrieved on December 1, 2012 from http://www.biography.com/people/john-steinbeck-9493358(n.a). (n.d). The Nobel Prize in Literature. retrieved on December 1, 2012 from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1962/steinbeck-bio.html(n.a). (n.d). John Steinbeck. retrieved on December 1, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steinbeck(n.a). (n.d). John Steinbeck Biography. retrieved on December 2, 2012 from http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/of-mice-and-men/john-steinbeck- biography.html(Esther Lombardi). (n.d). John Steinbeck biography. retrieved on December 2, 2012 from http://classiclit.about.com/od/steinbeckjohn/p/John-Steinbeck.htm(n.a). (October 13, 2009). What page are you on?. retrieved on December 2, 2012 from http://bigreadblog.arts.gov/?tag=john-steinbeck-biography(n.a). (n.d). Analysis of Mice and Men. retrieved on December 3, 2012 from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/micemen(n.a). (n.d). John Steinbeck images. retrieved on December 5, 2012 from http://www.google.com.my/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source= hp&biw=1366&bih=610&q=john+steinbeck&oq=john+st&gs_l=img.3.1.0l10.1206.5 951.0.85184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.218.104.22.168...0.0...1ac.1.6Qg-rlfaVAk