"Great Depression" By John Steinbeck. Essay

1541 words - 6 pages

David T. LaiMr. McCarthyAmerican Literature Period 712 May 2003How did The Great Depression influence the works of John Steinbeck?The purpose of this paper is to discover the role that the Great Depression played on the work of John Steinbeck."I must go over to the interior valleys. There are about five thousand families starving to death over there, not just hungry but starving. The government is trying to feed them and get medical attention to them with the fascist groups of utilities and banks and huge growers sabotaging the thing all along the line and yelling for a balanced budget . . . I've tied into the thing from the first and I must get down there and see it and see if I can't do something to help knock these murderers on the heads . . . I'm pretty mad about it." -John Steinbeck (Johnson)The Great Depression was one of the most disastrous periods in American History. It was caused mainly by the Stock Market crash of 1929, as well as the Dust Bowl, which brought a drought all over the country. For these years our economy would suffer great losses, production of the nation's factories, mines, and utilities fell by over a half. Stock Prices would plummet, falling to one tenth of its previous value. While stocks were dropping, unemployment was skyrocketing. The Depression may have been the effect of the extremely high unemployment rate. One out of every 3 Americans were jobless, and poverty existed everywhere, in every corner of every street of every city. The depression affected everyone, while consumers were losing money to the stock market; farmers were losing crops to the drought.These horrid images rubbed off on many authors and caused some to change to a style of realistic writing."People no longer covered the glorious days of the Roaring 20's and the heroic stories of the First World War. The authors of the Great Depression wrote about the daily hardships which all Americans struggled through. The literature of the Great Depression reflected the mood of the citizens of America" (Reed).Writers wrote about what they were experiencing, the things that were going on right around them. Take the drought for example. After months of no improvement, farmers started to lose hope. Karen Hesse, a famous poet of the time, best describes the disheartening period in her poem, "Breaking the Drought." She writes, "After 70 days of wind and sun, of wind and clouds, of wind and sand, after 70 days, of wind and dust, A little rain came" (Hesse).Its simplistic terms and form carries deep meaning and remembrance for many, much like most of the writings of the time. One of these writings, arguably the most famous novel from the time, is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, in 1902. He grew up in an agricultural valley, roughly twenty five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would later become settings for some of his best novels. In 1919 Steinbeck enrolled in Stanford, where he...

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