John Steinbeck: His Life and His Works.


John Steinbeck: His Life and His Works. Steinbeck’s books generally deal with the desperation and resilience of poor Americans in the early decades of the twentieth century. His works also serve the purpose of a social documentary and present a picture of systemic injustices in the United States. His outstanding literary life culminated with the conferring of Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, four years before his demise (Palmer, 2001, p.479).It is fashionable with the new breed of novelists to separate literary art from political themes. But in the case of John Steinbeck, this distinction is not evident. The author, in the process of creating a work of art, had also taken upon himself to ask questions of social injustices in general and economic disparities in particular. Hence, Steinbeck’s body of work is in essence full of his own perspective on the state of rural American society. the medium of the novel is chosen in only as far as it gives the author requisite scope and opportunity to fulfill his role as a social commentator. To understand this social activist trait in Steinbeck’s character one has to look at the experiences and circumstances that shaped his vision of America. Firstly, his years as an adolescent in Salinas, where he got a firsthand experience of his parents’ struggle for survival is a formative influence. It is the next phase of his life however, that will prove more important – his long-time relationship with the radical social worker Carol Henning. The influence of Carol Henning cannot be underestimated, for her socialist views on life had clearly rubbed off on Steinbeck, which is evident from the earliest journalistic assignments that Steinbeck undertook. His years as a novice journalist also had a key role in the shaping of his character, for these early writing assignments were the foundations for his later literary pursuits (Palmer, 2001, p.479).&nbsp. &nbsp.

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