John Steinbeck: A Literary Light In The Great Depression

735 Words3 Pages
John Steinbeck: A Literary Light in the Great Depression "The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement"(“John Ernst Steinbeck”). Said by John Steinbeck as he accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature, this quote illustrates perfectly the goals and ideals Steinbeck held himself to in his writing. Steinbeck pursued above all to give the common folk of the Great Depression a voice; an endeavor that grants him a place with the great writers of America. John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., was born in Salinas, California, on February 27th, 1908 to John Ernst Steinbeck and Olive Hamilton.…show more content…
The Grapes of Wrath, one of his most well-known works is exemplary of Steinbeck’s pursuit to bring attention to the lower class and their struggles during the Great Depression, and to hold those who caused the Depression accountable, as seen in his quote “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects]. I’ve done my damnedest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags” (“The Grapes of Wrath”]. Published in 1939, the novel follows a family of tenant farmers who are forced to turn their land over to the banks and journey across the Dust Bowl to the ‘promised land’ of California (“John Ernst Steinbeck”). The Grapes of Wrath became highly debated and criticized, and many accused Steinbeck of dramatizing the conditions portrayed in the novel to prove a point; however, he had actually underplayed the conditions, feeling that “exact descriptions would have gotten in the way of his story.” Though embraced by the working class, critics condemned the novel as a ‘pack of lies’ and ‘Communist propaganda,’ and the book was banned from 1939 to 1941. (“The Grapes of
Open Document