John Steinbeck Essay, Research Paper
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.”
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
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…
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