American author John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was Born February 27, 1902 in Salinas California, He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939 and won the annual National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize and was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other “Okies”, they sought jobs, land, dignity, and a future.The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940.
East of Eden is Often described as Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel East of Eden is set primarily between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I, It is the story of warmhearted inventor and farmer Samuel Hamilton his wife Liza, and their nine children who live on a rough, infertile piece of land in the Salinas Valley, California,. As the Hamilton children begin to grow up and leave the nest, a wealthy stranger, Adam Trask, purchases the best ranch in the Valley, Adam joined the military and then wandered the country until He was caught for vagrancy, escaped from a chain gang and burgled a store for clothing to use as a disguise. Then he learns that his father has died and left him an inheritance of $50,000.
A parallel story introduces a girl named Cathy Ames, who grows up in a town not far from the brothers’ family farm who is cold, cruel, and utterly incapable of feeling for anyone but herself. She leaves home after killing both of her parents. Finally, she is viciously beaten by a pimp and is left close to death on the brothers’ doorstep. Although Charles Hamilton is repulsed by her, Adam, unaware of her past, falls in love with and marries her and goes to California where he settles with the pregnant Cathy in the Salinas Valley, near the Hamilton family ranch. Cathy does not want to be a mother or to stay in California, but Adam is so ecstatically happy with his new life that he does not realize there is any problem. Shortly after Cathy gives birth to twin boys, she shoots Adam in the shoulder and flees. Adam recovers, but remains in a deep and terrible depression until he becomes good friends with Cantonese Cook Lee and Samuel Hamilton and learns the story of Cain & Abel and the Hebrew word “Timshel” which means “thou mayest” suggesting that mankind is neither compelled to pursue sainthood nor doomed to sin, but rather has the power to choose.
Meanwhile, Cathy has become a prostitute and embarks on a devious plan to ingratiate herself with the owner, murder her and inherit the business. She makes her new brothel infamous and is not concerned that Adam might look for her, and has no feelings her children Caleb and Aron – echoing Cain and Abel – who grow up oblivious of their mother’s situation. Aron then meets a girl named Abra and the two fall in love. Soon after Samuel Hamilton passes away but Adam is inspired by the memory of his inventiveness. As the boys reach the end of their school days, Caleb decides to pursue a career in farming and Aron goes to college to become an Episcopalian priest. Soon Caleb discovers that his mother is alive and the head of a brothel. Caleb then goes into business with Will Hamilton, as an automobile dealer and also makes a fortune selling beans grown in the Salinas Valley. A successful Aron returns from Stanford for the holiday. intending to drop out of college and Caleb takes Aron to see their mother, who Wracked with self-hatred, signs her estate over to Aron, who then enlists in the army to fight in World War I, but is killed in battle and Adam is overcome with grief. A now bedridden Adam is asked to forgive his only remaining son, responds by giving Caleb his blessing in the form of the word Timshel.
Of Mice and Men tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in California, USA.Based on Steinbeck’s own experiences as a bindlestiff in the 1920s (before the arrival of the Okies he would vividly describe in The Grapes of Wrath), the title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which read: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.). John Steinbeck sadly passed away on December 20th, 1968. however his novels are regarded as classics by many, and are Required reading in many schools. Of Mice and Men has also been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of 21st Century.