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John Steinbeck was an American author and the awardee of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. Steinbeck was known to write novels depicting the struggles and experiences of the working class and was a writer who gave voice to the victims of the Great Depression.
See the fact file below for more information on the John Steinbeck or alternatively, you can download our 24-page John Steinbeck worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California.
- In his lifetime, Steinbeck worked as a novelist, short story writer/fictionist, and war correspondent.
MOST NOTABLE WORKS
- Three of John Steinbeck’s notable works were:
- Of Mice and Men (1937)
- A story about two displaced migrant ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, who moved to California during the Great Depression to search for career opportunities.
- The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
- A book that won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
- Another novel that was set in the time of the Great Depression.
- Featuring the story of the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers.
- East of Eden (1952)
- Often described as John Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel.
- A tale of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons.
EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY
- John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was the only son of John Steinbeck Sr. and Olive Hamilton.
- John Steinbeck Sr. worked as a bookkeeper and accountant.
- He served as the treasurer of Monterey County, California.
- It was Olive, Steinbeck’s mother and a former school teacher, who influenced and exposed him to literature.
- Steinbeck’s favorite book was Le Morte d’Arthur, written by Sir Thomas Malory.
- It was a collection of tales and legends about King Arthur.
- It also served as a major influence for Steinbeck’s writing.
- In the summer, Steinbeck worked on sugar beet farms in Spreckels, California, along with migrant workers. This enabled him to explore and experience the struggles of migrant workers.
- Steinbeck graduated from Salinas High School in 1919.
- He went to Stanford University after graduating from high school, however, he didn’t finish college and left Stanford in 1925.
CAREER AND WORK
- He moved to New York City, taking odd jobs while writing.
- Steinbeck didn’t succeed in publishing his work at first, so he returned to California and worked as a tour guide and caretaker at Lake Tahoe in 1928.
- His first book was published in 1932. It was a collection of short stories titled The Pastures of Heaven.
- The short stories were mainly about rural life in California.
- His 1933 novel, To God Unknown, was regarded as a novel that contained strong statements about man’s usage of land.
- The novel that gave Steinbeck popular and critical success was his novel Tortilla Flat, published in 1935.
- Several critics agree that Tortilla Flat (1935) was Steinbeck’s most artistically satisfying work.
- In his novel In Dubious Battle, published in 1936, Steinbeck explored and dealt with the problems of labor unions. It revolved around a story of revolting grape pickers as they stopped working as a protest against the unfair treatment the workers were experiencing.
- His most popular book, Of Mice and Men, published in 1937, was actually conceived first as a stage play.
- The book is often regarded as powerfully written and moving.
- Despite the praise the book has received, critics say that it lacks a moral vision.
- Another notable novel by John Steinbeck was The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939.
- It was a novel conceived through the help of a series of articles John Steinbeck had written for the San Francisco Chronicle, which tackled the problems of migrant laborers.
- During his lifetime, John Steinbeck won two major awards, one was the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940, the second was the Nobel Prize in 1962.
- John Steinbeck had three spouses in his lifetime:
- The first one was Carol Henning. They married in 1930. They divorced in 1943.
- Steinbeck’s second spouse was Gwyn Conger. They married in 1943. They divorced in 1948.
- His last spouse was Elaine Scott, whom he married in 1950.
- John Steinbeck had two sons:
- Thomas Myles Steinbeck
- Born on August 2, 1944 and died on August 11, 2016.
- He grew up to be a screenwriter, photographer, and journalist.
- John Steinbeck IV
- Born on June 12, 1946 and died on February 7, 1991.
- He grew up to be an American journalist and author.
- On December 20, 1968 in New York City, John Steinbeck died due to heart disease and congestive heart failure.
- During his lifetime John Steinbeck was an active smoker.
- Steinbeck’s body was cremated, and was later buried on March 4, 1969, at the Hamilton family gravesite in Salinas.
John Steinbeck Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the John Steinbeck across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use John Steinbeck worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about John Steinbeck who was an American author and the awardee of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. Steinbeck was known to write novels depicting the struggles and experiences of the working class and was a writer who gave voice to the victims of the Great Depression.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- John Steinbeck Facts
- Early Life Fast Facts
- In Chronological Order
- Complete Titles
- Matching Book Details
- Classifying Characters
- Steinbeck Said
- My Favorite Authors
- Nobel Prize Awardees
- Apt Book Covers
- Book Request
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Use With Any Curriculum
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