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Biography Of James M. Cain Essay

2723 words - 11 pages

Biography of James M. Cain On July 1, 1892 James Mallahan Cain - the first of five children "“ was born. At age six he entered school in Annapolis and also met his best friends, Henry Hopkins. They remained friends until Cain's death in 1977. As a child Jamie loved to read and was often teased by other students. Professor Clarence W. Stryker, a member at St. John's faculty, recognized Cain's passion and introduced him to Alice in Wonderland, which to the end of his life remained his favorite novel. Cain surrounded himself with Alice, The Jungle Books, Tales of Peter Rabbit, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. "These were his favorites, and he would read them over and over again ["¦] Of all the books he read when he was young, these early favorites were the ones that lived" (Hoopes 10). Now head of the Annapolis School Board, Jim Cain (Cain's father) was proud of his wunderkind and arranged it so that Cain was moved ahead from third grade to fifth. "["¦] Cain later thought the move was possibly the worst thing that ever happened in his childhood, and he regretted all his life that his father did not have enough sense to veto it" (Hoopes 12). Cain grew up in Annapolis, Maryland until the summer of 1903. Dr. Jim Cain was going to be the president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Life in Chestertown was worse than in Annapolis. When he entered the Chestertown public school, he was in the seventh grade on the Eastern Shore, which was part of high school. His classmates knew he had a lot of talent but made fun of him by calling him "Pedro" for unknown reasons. In 1909 the Pegasus (college yearbook) said "Pedro, the awkwardest man of the class, runs the track like a turkey, with both wings broken" (qdt. in Hoopes 25). But the yearbook also showed how active and involved he was in school. He was a member of the Adelphia Literary Society, vice-president of his class in 1907-1908, a member of the Glee and Mandolin clubs, class historian in 1909 and 1910, literary editor of the Pegasus in 1909 and 1910, and class poet. After graduating from Washington College in 1910, Cain was inspired to become a professional opera singer by his mother. In 1913 he moved to Washington D. C. and studied singing. Voice lessons confirmed that he would never become an opera singer, and while sitting on a bench in Lafayette Park in Washington he came to the conclusion that he would become a writer. He returned to Chestertown in 1914 and started to teach English and mathematics at Washington College for his father. While teaching he got his master's degree in 1917. Between 1917 and 1923 he was a reporter for first the Baltimore American and then for the Baltimore Sun, enlisted as a private in the army during WWI and edited The Lorraine Cross for the 79th Division, married Mary Rebekah (divorced in 1923), and became a professor at St. John's. Through 1924 and 1931 Cain was a struggling...

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