Steinbeck American West

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John Steinbeck and the American West To John Steinbeck America was not only a place on the map but in the heart. He had a deep-seated kinship with the land of his birth, Salinas, California. Known to many as Steinbeck Country, the rolling green hills of farmland and the fog-draped streets of Monterey became the template for human struggle. In many of his novels and short stories Steinbeck evokes the spirit of the place dearest to his heart to tell the stories of the men and women of the American West. Steinbeck, born in 1902 to a middle class family, shared a passion for reading and writing with his mother who was a school teacher. He spent his summers working on nearby ranches in what is today officially known as “the Salad Bowl of the World”. During that time Steinbeck noticed the difficult living situations of the migrant workers. In 1929 the U.S. stock market crashed sparking the Great Depression and inspiring Steinbeck’s series of articles for the San Francisco News called The Harvest Gypsies focusing on the lives and hardships of migrant workers in California’s Central Valley. This commission began a series of California…show more content…
This book was based on newspaper articles he had written in San Francisco about migrant agricultural workers. (Burkhead) The book follows the Joad family out to California from Oklahoma where they are kicked off of their land and forced to head west to look for work. Promised a better life and working wages, the Joad family is surprised to find that the ranches of California are not what they had hoped for. In The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck uses the Californian landscape as the backdrop for his need to inspire readers to take action against the great injustices created out of America’s depression era droughts. (Burkhead) Although the book was controversial it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1939. It is considered Steinbeck’s greatest work.
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