Authors > John Steinbeck

Salinas, California had a population of 3,000 when John Steinbeck was born in 1902. Son of a County Treasurer and a schoolteacher, he had roots in the farming community that made many of his stories come alive. Before settling into the exclusive job of writing fiction, he was employed in various jobs, such as painter, laboratory assistant, caretaker, and reporter.

His major novels center on a message of warmth and compassion toward the downtrodden. Mr. Steinbeck did what other authors of the time writing social commentary failed to do: comment on the ills of society within the context of the story, rather than having the characters delve into social themes with long-winded speeches or conversations. Mr. Steinbeck gives you an entertaining story and weaves his message in with descriptive genius and makes you sympathetic for the characters' plights as they unfold.

Cannery Row

Cannery Row focuses on the acceptance of life as it is: both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. Drawing on his memories of the real inhabitants of Monterey, California, Steinbeck interweaves the stories of Doc, Henri, Mack and his boys, and the other characters in this world where only the fittest survive, to create a novel that is at once one of his most humorous and most poignant works.

Year: 1945
Genre: Literature

East of Eden

he masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years -- a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis. In his journal, John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book" and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families--the Trasks and the Hamiltons--whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of

Year: 1952
Genre: Literature

Of Mice and Men

While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck's work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing "Of Mice and Men", creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness.

Year: 1937
Genre: Literature

The Grapes of Wrath

The story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads--driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity.

Year: 1939
Genre: Literature

The Pearl

When the news of Kino's great find -- the "Pearl of the World" -- spreads through the small town, no one suspects its power to deceive, to corrupt, to destroy. Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the Gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence.

Genre: Literature

The Red Pony

Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher's life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, the hot-tempered pony his father gives him.

Year: 1945
Genre: Literature

Tortilla Flat

Defying all social conventions and expectations, Steinbeck's gallery of knights thrive on the love- and the fights--that inevitably accompany a glorious night of drinking wine. They suffer the temptations of greed and lust, stand firm in their loyalty to one another, and, finally, come to understand the power of goodness and courage.

Year: 1935
Genre: Literature

 

NON-SERIES Novels

Year TitleGenres & Tags

The PearlLiterature
1935Tortilla FlatLiterature
1937Of Mice and MenLiterature
1939The Grapes of WrathLiterature , Great Depression
1945Cannery RowLiterature
1945The Red PonyLiterature
1952East of EdenLiterature