At the age of thirteen, most children are still naïve to their future self-professions. However, in 1915, a boy at the mere age of thirteen was encouraged by his English teacher to become a writer (French 1). Unbeknownst to the teacher, the boy would arguably become a writer on equal terms to D.H. Lawrence, John Keats, or William Faulkner. The boy in question is John Steinbeck. Though Steinbeck’s era was a time of isolation and sorrow, between the economy and global conflicts the desperate times allowed many opportunities for Steinbeck. For example, he would intentionally immerse himself in unfavorable conditions that others experienced without a choice. In particular, the experiences with ...view middle of the document...
Collins would become a source of inspiration as well as a good friend of Steinbeck. After being a shadow to Collins for a week, Steinbeck would eventually write a letter that thanked him for “one of the very fine experiences of a life” (Bloom 69). As Steinbeck would later write his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Grapes of Wrath, he would use what he was able to experience in Weedpatch to help the books story feel real.
Moreover, in 1936 during the middle of the depression, Steinbeck toured migrant camps, which resulted in a magazine article entitled “Dubious Battle in California.” The article allowed Steinbeck to express his concern for the refugees as well as “[hope] for a better world to come” (French 23). The article allowed Steinbeck to continue to bring attention to the substandard conditions the migrant workers lived in.
Lastly, despite Steinbeck’s fame during the mid to late 1930’s, he did not settle into luxury. Instead, Steinbeck drove to Oklahoma to join a band of migrant workers; he would live in their Hoovervilles and work alongside them advancing to California (Tedlock 13). John Steinbeck continued to put himself in the destitute environment along with the migrants in order to experience the situation for himself as he has previously; with new experiences come new inspiration for the book to come, which would be The Grapes of Wrath.
John Steinbeck gained his popularity as a writer during the Great Depression. Despite the economic crisis, he did not have trouble selling his books nor the problem of finding a publisher. John Steinbeck found that by encumbering himself with bits of a migrant workers experiences, he was able to write realistic stories to shed light on an otherwise unspoken and unheard group. Although the Great Depression influenced Steinbeck through what most critics consider the pinnacle of Steinbeck’s career, his writing was influenced because of World War II as well.
Three short years after The Grapes of Wrath was published, Steinbeck wrote novels and plays influenced by an even greater disaster than the Great Depression, World War II. Steinbeck’s first novel to deal with war would be The Moon Is Down. While the work “generated considerable controversy” in the different forms being a play and movie as well, Steinbecks primary purpose was for it to be a propaganda piece (French 46). Taking it upon himself, he would do what he did best, and write in hopes of a positive outcome in an otherwise dreadful situation. Of course, despite the attempts at a positive outcome, critics such as Alfred Kazin and Stanley Edgar Hyman would try to “dismiss Steinbeck as a serious writer” because of the propaganda used in the story (Noble 185). Despite the drawback, after World War II, Steinbeck was honored with the Norway Cross by the Norwegian King Haakon because of the film. In foreign countries, the novel was also well received because of the universal message Steinbeck was able to incorporate.
Steinbeck continued to write...