American author John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902 and died on December 20, 1968. He was "known especially for realistic, compassionate novels of lowly people" (Bridgwater 1282). He was married three time and had two sons. In 1962, he was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Steinbeck graduated from Salinas High School in 1919, intermittently attended Stanford as an English major and left before achieving a degree. As a young man, he worked as a fruit picker and a ranch hand. Pursuing a writing career, he moved to New York City, and worked for the American newspaper. He was unable, however, to get his creative writing published, and returned to California. In 1929 his first work, Cup of Gold, was published but poorly received, as were his next two novels, The Pastures of Heaven and To a God Unknown. With the publication of Tortilla Flat in 1935, he finally achieved success as a writer. From that year on he published his work regularly and became a prolific writer, almost always focusing on the plight of the poor, the worker, the downtrodden, the individual fighting against forces beyond his control, but with which he struggled to the end.
The Grapes of Wrath, perhaps his greatest work, certainly his most famous, was published in 1939. Other major works included The Red Pony, Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, The Pearl, East of Eden, The Winter of Our Discontent, and Travels With Charley in Search of America.
Steinbeck was a war correspondent in World War II and also wrote film scripts, including "The Red Pony" and "Viva Zapata".
The unusual structure of Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath is useful in helping the book portray social themes which affect the lives of both individuals and the society as a whole. The structure is criticized by some because it distracts from the story by alternating chapters on the specific (the s...