Steinbeck and of Mice and Men
A little over a century ago a man was born in California who became one of the great writers and storytellers in American history (Snell, 1961, p. 11). His name was John Ernst Steinbeck. He lived and wrote during the time that American fiction was changing. Previously, American fiction had copied English and continental literature (Snell, 1961, p.11). In the twentieth century, however, American fiction became dramatically different. It began to deal with the social problems that were taking place as America grew from a wilderness to a world power (Verde, 1993,p.VI) John Steinbeck became the "voice of the American conscience" (Verde, 1993, p.112). In particular, through his social concern, sense of humor, and artistic talent, Steinbeck brought the plight of the migrant worker and the simple, lower class American to a new awareness.
John Steinbeck knew firsthand what it was like to be an itinerant person. When he was barely twenty years old he spent a night in a "Hobo" camp on his way to San Francisco (Verde, 1993, p.101). He loved to talk with these people and was always searching for ideas to use in his writing. At the age of 34, he considered using some of this experience to write a play about the migrant worker's life.
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