John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. His father worked for the county government and his mother was a school teacher. He also had three sisters living with him.In 1919, John enrolled at Stanford University and studied several subjects before dropping out in 1925 to move to New York City without a degree. There, he worked a myriad of jobs, including one as a construction worker, while writing on the side. He presented his work to the many publishers in New York, but all of them turned him down.
Dismayed from his failure to find a publisher, John moved back to California to continue writing. His first novel was entitled "Cup of Gold" and he managed to find a publisher for it in 1929. The book was not a commercial success, but he was determined to continue writing.
In 1930, he married a woman named Carol Henning, whom he later divorced in 1942. His parents were elderly and he cared for them while he continued writing and scraping together enough money to get by. His mother died in 1934, followed by his father in 1935.
By this time, he had published several other books that had gained little attention. In 1935, things changed for the better when he published a book entitled "Tortilla Flat", which was about the adventures of a young men during the Great Depression. The book managed to win the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal for literary achievement as well.
In 1937, John went to the Soviet Union with his wife Carol. She was a radical Marxist and dragged him to political meetings in San Francisco to meet with other Marxists. Steinbeck himself was reluctant to accept communism and did not fully support the concept.
That year he also wrote one of his most famous novels, "Of Mice and Men". The story centered around a pair of men, one of whom was mentally retarded, who traveled the US looking for work during the Depression. The pair of men show ambition to start a farm of their own, but their progress is hampered by social and economic problems.
In 1939, he published his most famous novel, "The Grapes of Wrath". The book follows a family of migrant workers, the Joads, as they pack up everything they own and search for work in order to survive during the Depression. In their journeys, they observe a lot of suffering and endure much of their own suffering until they finally find their worker's paradise. The novel won the Pulitzer prize in 1940 and was also made into a famous film that year, starring Henry Fonda.
In 1940, Steinbeck joined his friend Ed Ricketts on a voyage to the Gulf of California. They conducted a marine biology expedition there and collected a large variety of specimens to study and document. His adventures were published in 1941 as "Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research".
In 1941, he separated from Carol and left for New York with a woman named Gwyndolyn Conger. In 1943, the two were married and had two sons. They later divorced in 1948, citing irreconcilable differences. In 1950, he made his final marriage to a woman named Elaine Anderson Scott, who stayed with him until his death.
In 1944, Steinbeck wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's film "Lifeboat". In 1945, he wrote another screenplay for the film "A Medal For Benny".
In 1947, Steinbeck published a book called "The Pearl". The book was about a destitute Mexican boy who finds a massive pearl. After finding it, he hopes that the pearl will bring his family money and success, but in the end it only brings corruption and misery.
In 1952, he published what he considered to be his greatest work, a book entitled "East of Eden". The book followed two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks. The book was a commercial and critical success and spawned a film in 1955 starring James Dean. It has many parallels to the Christian Bible, particularly the stories of the Garden of Eden and Cain and Abel.
In 1952 he also wrote a screenplay for the film "Viva Zapata!". The film focused on the Mexican revolution led by Emiliano Zapata, who was played by Marlon Brando. The movie was a great success and brought attention to the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century.
In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his literary career. In 1964, President Johnson awarded him the United States Medal of Freedom. On December 20, 1968, John Steinbeck died in his home of natural causes.
( This biography taken from Articles/Biographies/Writers/Steinbeck, John and it was written byÂ Jonathan Dunder )
2.0 Literature Essay
TITLE : How Setting in "The Pearl" is related to the Character of Kino
The characters of this story are only important in terms of how they develop the storyline. They are relatively undeveloped and in terms of much contemporary fiction, they are flat. However, this is true in most of the oral storytelling tradition. The importance of this tale lies not in the individual characters, but in what the listener takes away from the tale. However, it is important to examine some of the supporting cast of characters who take on more significance than those characters who provide the story's action. These characters carry the symbolic and thematic message of the tale.
John Steinbeck uses his setting to show Kino's characters . This character growths is related to the background of the place, a poor fisherman settlement near the sea. This story is quite sad but inspiring. It shows how rich people try to manipulate the poor ,about greed ,injustice ,family unity and love. A story of a family, Kino the husband, Juana the wife ,how they lost their only son because of the greed of the people who tried to get the pearl that Kino found to treat his son who was bitten by a scorpion.
Kino's character could be seen start from the beginning where the incident Kino's son was stung by a scorpion .As a loving and a responsible father Kino attempted many ways to save the life of his only child. John Steinback brought the setting back to the sea where Kino risk his life diving and had gone through all the difficulties to find a large pearl just to pay the treatment for his son .
He dreamt of changing his life and his family . He taught about buying new clothes and a rifle for himself, butÂ the pearlÂ only brings him trouble. The doctor, the priest, the pearl buyer and the town people wanted to benefit from the sale of the pearl . Thieves tried to steal the pearl.His house was burnt.
The setting in the pearl ,help to reveal a character's personality . It could be seen when Kino finding best buyer for his precious pearl. Kino character shown differently in this setting .He acted so aggressively in few scenes . He became more careful and possessive person . Infact, he killed an attacker just to save his pearl from being stolen. . Before the pearl enters Kino's life, he was just a simple and an ordinary man who longed to live peacefully with his wife, Juana and his only son, Coyotito in their village. This was what he hoped at the first place. Soon, he begins to hope for more materialism satisfaction. Coyotito is his only precious child. He hopes his son to receive properÂ educationÂ in order to flee from poverty and discrimination. Kino also hopes for a proper marriage ceremony in the church with Juana and receives blessing from the priest. Besides, he hopes to buy himself aÂ new rifle, as a symbol of power and wealth .
The setting seemed more realistic when Kino and his family fled from la Paz to the capital . Some writers used to make a main character frozen in order to make an important points in their writing .But John Steinback made the character fully true to life from the beginning to the end . Kino is a major character in almost all his setting in ' The Pearl '. Kino was attacked by trackers in the mountains, Juana and their son hid in the mountains .Kino killed all the trackers but one tracker killed his son . Kino and Juana returned to the village with their dead son. Kino threw the pearl back into the sea. The writer still uses Kino as an important character till the end.
The author did use some symbols in his writing .It can be identified in chapter three such as "nervous system and a head and a shoulders and feet". It explained about the town Kino and his family were been to sell the pearl. 'Pearl' itself is a symbol of escape for the poor man, but it also symbolizes the effects of greed on man. Worse than that, Steinbeck sets up the Pearl to embody the whole of the European Conquest of the Americas. He does this by saying that Pearl bed in which it was found, is the same pearl bed that raised the King of Spain to be the greatest in the world. Historically, then, this pearl bed represents the gold, silver, and raw resources that Spain extracted from the New World at the height of that nation's empire. Now, this same pearl bed lures in a victim of that colonialism to dream of an easy escape from poverty.
Irony arises in the name of the village eg: La Paz or peace. The town is only peaceful because the majority of the people are demoralized. Their peace is one of an oppressed people. The Pearl stirs up this peace and only bloodshed restores calm. John Steinbacks used ' sea and wave ' to show the calmness and environment by the fisherman village where Kino and his family lived peacefully before the troubles. All those symbols related closely to the setting.Thus, those setting were used just to explain in depth about Kino's personalities and way of his life before and after.
In all of Steinbeck's books the setting is important. This tale could take place in few other settings, although similar stories could be told in any setting in which the people are oppressed and ignorant. However, Steinbeck uses his setting to help impart his symbolic and thematic messages and also bring his major character true to life . It was a sad and tragic ending which finding the pearl is the catalyst to the other events. It was predestined that their dreams would not come true, that to give their son the best life possible. The fate had decreed otherwise. Their dreams were shattered by the death of their son. All the settings that were created in 'The Pearl' well-explained about the character of Kino from the beginning to the end.