John Ernst Steinbeck

John Ernst Steinbeck

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John Ernst Steinbeck


Born: February 27,1902 in the family home. He lived at 132 Central Avenue, Salinas,
CA. He wrote his first stories here as a child.

Father: John Ernst Steinbeck. He lived 1863-1935. He was the County Treasurer.

Mother: Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. She lived 1867-1934. She was an elementary

Sisters: Elizabeth Steinbeck Ainsworth. She was born on May 25,1894 and died on
October 20, 1992. She lived in Pacific Grove, CA.

Esther Steinbeck Rodgers. She was born April 14,1892 and died on May 9,1986. She
lived in Watsonville, CA

Mary Steinbeck Dekker. She was born on January 9,1905 and died January 23,1965. She
is buried in the family plot.

1919: Graduated from Salinas High School, then located on West Alisal Street across
from the post office. Began attending Stanford University.

1919 - 1925: He attended Stanford University.

1925: He went to New York City, working odd jobs, including manual labor for the
construction of Madison Square Garden. He was unable to find a publisher. He returned
to California the next year.

1929: Cup of Gold became his first published novel.

1930: Married Carol Henning and moved to the family home in Pacific Grove. His father
helped support the struggling couple. They divorced in 1942. She lived in Carmel Valley, CA after and died February 8, 1983.

1932: The Pastures of Heaven became his first published work set in Monterey County.

1934: His mother died in the Salinas home. John had stayed in the home to take care of
her. After this experience, Steinbeck wrote to a friend, "The house in Salinas is pretty
haunted now. I see things walking at night that it is not good to see." Steinbeck wrote to

1934: A short story set in Monterey County, The Murder, won an O. Henry Prize.

1935: His father died. This was the first year Steinbeck had commercial success.
Tortilla Flat was an instant hit.

1935: He won the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for Best Novel by a
Californian for Tortilla Flat.

1936: He again won the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal for Best Novel
by a Californian for In Dubious Battle.

1936: Of Mice and Men, set around Soledad, was produced as a novel and then as a play.
The Red Pony by Steinbeck also won recognition. Steinbeck mentioned labor violence in
Salinas in a letter, "There are riots in Salinas and killings in the streets of that dear little town where I was born.

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John Ernst Steinbeck Essay

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1937: The Long Valley, a collection of short stories set in the Salinas Valley, was

1938: John wrote The Grapes of Wrath. It inspired nationwide attention on the living
conditions and exploitation of farm workers. John had said, “A kind of hysteria about the book is growing that is not healthy."

1938: He won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Of Mice & Men.

1939: He became a member of National Institute of Arts and Letters. He received the
American Booksellers' Award.

1940: Film version of The Grapes of Wrath was made. Steinbeck also received the
Pulitzer Prize for the novel.

1943: He married Gwyndolyn Conger, who he later divorced in 1948. He became the
war correspondent in Europe for the Herald Tribune of New York. The first edition of
The Portable Steinbeck was published. He also visited Africa.

1944: His movie, "Lifeboat," was released. Steinbeck bought a house in Monterey but
was unwelcome. No one would rent him an office for writing. He was harassed when
trying to get fuel and wood from a local wartime rations board.

1944: John and Gwyndolyn had their first child, Thomas Steinbeck, on August 2,1944.

1945: Cannery Row, which is set in Monterey was published.

1946: They had their second child, John Steinbeck IV, on June 12, 1946. He died on
February 7,1991.

1948: He moved from New York to Pacific Grove. There, he examined The Californian's
files of old newspapers to research East of Eden, which is set in the Salinas Valley.
Steinbeck said that he was trying to buy the ranch where he had set The Red Pony, partly
because he wanted to write East of Eden there. He was unable to. He became member
of American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1949: He met Elaine Scott at the Pine Inn at Ocean Avenue and Monte Verde in Carmel.
They married the next year.

1951: The Log from the Sea of Cortez was published. The work is frequently referred to
at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

1952: East of Eden, his major work about the history of the Salinas Valley, was finally

1955: “Holiday Magazine” ran a series by authors about their hometowns. Steinbeck
wrote an article, "Always Something to do in Salinas," that included many jabs at his

1957: Salinas contemplates naming North Salinas High School after Steinbeck. However,
he did not want that.

1960: He traveled through America with his poodle to write Travels with Charley. He
took his last view of the Salinas Valley from Fremont Peak.

1962: Steinbeck accepts the Nobel Prize in Stockholm.

1963: He became an Honorary Consultant in American Literature to the Library of

1964: He received the United States Medal of Freedom, became a Trustee of John F.
Kennedy Memorial Library, received the Annual Paperback of the Year Award, and
received the Press Medal of Freedom.

1966: He became a member of the National Arts Council.

1968: John Ernst Steinbeck died December 20 in New York.

1969: On March 4, his ashes were buried in the Garden of Memories cemetery.

Novels and short story collections

Cup of Gold
Pastures of Heaven
To a God Unknown
Tortilla Flat
In Dubious Battle
Of Mice and Men
The Grapes of Wrath
The Portable Steinbeck
The Moon is Down
Sea of Cortez (written with Edward Rickettes)
Cannery Row
The Pearl
The Bus
The Wayward Bus
Burning Bright
East of Eden
The Winter of Our Discontent
America and Americans
Travis With Charley
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (modernization)

Screen Plays

“A Medal for Benny”
“Viva Zapata”


John Steinbeck: Bibliography
Articles (internet)

“Steinbeck, John.” Results for Steinbeck, John. (27 Apr. 2001)

The unspecified author explains John’s early life and reasons for writing. He was an
American writer living in Salinas, California. John graduated from high school and went
to Stanford University for six years. His story, Tortilla Flat, clearly had Mexican
influence as he was very familiar with them as he grew up in Salinas. This was his first
novel that received recognition. In Dubious Battle defends agricultural workers as he
grew up on the countryside. He uses integrity themes in Of Mice and Men and The Moon
is Down even though they are completely different stories; one being about migrant
workers and the other about running from Nazis. He created a wide variety of works and
was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

“Steinbeck as Realist/Naturalist: The Problems with Categorization.” John Steinbeck’s
Realism & Naturalism. (27 Apr.2001)

This article, with an unspecified author, explains John Steinbeck’s influences. It talks
about his very modest rural heroes being illiterate and often weak minded. However, they
are essentially noble. It explains the influence from his surroundings like the laboring
Mexicans, cannery workers, and fishermen. His stories show big scenes of passion and
cruelty showing realist ways. His characters often show regret after they understand their previous actions like in Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.


Beachman, Waton. Critical Survey of Story Fiction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press,

Beachman also talks about Steinbeck’s early life, influences, and stories. John Steinbeck lived to be 66 years old. Beachman calls him a prolific writer and says he actually writes in many forms other than realism. He says Steinbeck had very little form and was an “open” writer. Steinbeck has been described as having a populist, progressive, and radical writing style, however, not unique. Some people may find John Steinbeck’s work trivial, but others may directly relate. That is why his stories are still read 33 after his death and will long be.
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