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Parallels Between The Grapes Of Wrath And The Life Of John Steinbeck

2915 words - 12 pages

John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. He had a pretty average childhood with a supportive family and a decent education. While growing up his mother, Olive Hamilton, was a major factor in his education, since she was a schoolteacher and made it her duty to educate him. His mother most likely was the reason he developed a love of reading and literature and ended up going to Stanford. In his child there were only two major events that affected his writing. These were when he worked on a ranch with migrant workers, and when his father’s business failed and the family was temporarily thrust into poverty. These two events most likely sparked his interest in the poor lives of the migrant workers. His experiences on the ranch taught him about the harsh and impoverished lives of the migrant workers and his experience of being in poverty enabled him to understand what life is like when one is poor, as the migrant workers were. This understanding inspired some of his most famous writings such as: Of Mice and Men, In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath. These experiences also allowed him to add a sense of realism to the stories. After graduating from his public high school in 1919 Steinbeck went to Stanford. He went there for 5 years before dropping out without a degree and moving to New York. The following years were highly tumultuous for Steinbeck and he held many odd jobs while trying to get his writing published. In 1935 he finally got his first big break when his critically acclaimed novel, Tortilla Flats, was published. After this he became quite successful and well known although the skill in his writing seems to fall after WWII. After researching his life I decided to focus on using his most famous novel, Grapes of Wrath, to understand and exemplify the different aspects of his writing style and how his own life is shown in his work.

Although, before I start discuss his writing I would like to talk about Steinbeck’s good friend, Ed Ricketts. Ricketts was a biologist who strongly influenced Steinbeck’s earlier writing. Steinbeck and Ricketts were very close friends for many years and would often spend time together (when Steinbeck wasn’t writing of course). In fact, an expedition they took together in the Gulf of California formed the basis of Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Ricketts influenced Steinbeck so strongly that he was actually the basis for quite a few characters in many of Steinbeck’s novels. Most notably, he was the basis for Doc in Canary Row. Unfortunately though, Rickets died in 1948 in a train collision. This event devastated Steinbeck and after that point the skillfulness in his writing unfortunately declined.

Relating to his writing, one of the few ways that it is possible to detect Steinbeck’s personal life is by looking at the way he wrote or more specifically his style. His writing style was very interesting since he wrote mainly in a naturalistic style. This style is when an...

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