“In 1933, thirty-one year old author John Steinbeck newly famous and living near Monterrey, California, with its unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean, began to notice the strange appearance of rundown vehicles from Oklahoma. By 1938, he was watching destitute fathers cooking rats, dogs and cats as food for their children while working on what would become The Grapes of Wrath. Though it became a best-seller, and was almost immediately recognized as an American classic, it was also reviled, accused of being “a lie, a black infernal creation of a twisted, distorted mind” by Oklahoma’s Congressman Lyle Boren, and banned by school boards in New York, Illinois, California, and elsewhere”
Steinbeck titles read twice each:
Grapes of Wrath is set in the Great Depression of the 1930’s is the story of a family of sharecroppers who had to leave their land now a ‘dust bowl’ seek to live elsewhere and still suffer extreme hardship. Winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction (novels)
Of Mice and Men – This tragic play written in 1937 is about George and Lennie, two traveling ranch workers and their desire to save enough money to buy their own farm. A story also set in the times of The Great Depression it portrays much hardship and the struggle against racism and prejudice, and against the mentally ill.
East of Eden – In this novel set in the Salinas Valley Steinbeck deals with the nature of good and evil. The story the Hamiltons and the Trasks is partly based in his own family background, published in 1952.
Waiting to read: Steinbeck’s
Travels with Charley and In Dubious Battle