He was born on February 27th, 1902 in Salinas, California. There he grew up and much of his work draws on his knowledge of life on the farms and ranches of the West. He worked as a reporter, chemist, and bricklayer until his first novel \"Cup of Gold\" (1921), was published. In 1930 Steinbeck married Carol Henning and they lived near Monterey. He was still a struggling, unknown writer and they were very poor, till he wrote the novel \"Tortilla Flat\" (1935) and \"The Red Pony\" , which at least brought Steinbeck a degree of fame and success.
The novels \"In Dubious Battle\" (1936) and \"The Grapes of Wrath\" (1939) were typical for the realistic \"proletarian\" writing in this era. In 1940 he was awarded with the \"Pulitzer Price\". The novel \"Of Mice and Men\" deals with migrant workers in a California ranch background.
He was attracted to the theatre a number of times. In 1942 he made a play of his novel \"The Moon is Down\" , a stirring melodrama about the Nazi's occupation of Norway. \"Burning Bright\" (1950) also appeared as a novel, but it seems to have been conceived as a play from the start.
His second wife gave him two sons. They were depicted in \"East of Eden\". This marriage also ended in divorce and in 1950 Steinbeck married his third wife, Elaine Scott. By this time he had left California and settled in New York.
Shortly after cpmleting \"Cannery Row\", Steinbeck began work on \"The Pearl\" (1947), based on a shot story he had heard on a expedition to the Gulf of California.
To overcome his sense of loneliness and frustration because he had divorced his second wife and lost his best friend, he involved himself in many projects. He did a lot of travelling and wrote filmscripts and articles for magazines, but had produced no major work since \"The Pearl\".
In 1962 Steinbeck was awarded the \"Nobel Price\" for litterature.On December 20th, 1968 John E. Steinbeck died in New York and is burried in Salinas, California, where he was born.
Of Mice and Man
THE STORY:On their way to a new job, George and Lennie stop to spend the night on a riverbank. They have been moving together from one ranch to the next for many years. Lennie is unhappy at the loss of his dead mouse, but settles down to George's coaching on how he should behave the next day: he is not to say anything when they are interviewed; he is to avoid trouble and if he does something bad, he is to return to his place they are and hide in the bushes. Lennie promises to be good and wants to know something about their future. George describes the little farm they will have as soon as they save some money. Away from bosses and orders, they will have their own piece of land and if Lennie continues to be good Lennie will be prmitted to tend the rabbits.
Next morning they arrive at the ranch in Salinas valley and George and Lennie are shown their bunks in the bunk house. During the morning they meet a lot of guys: the boss, his son Curley, Curley's young wife, the swamper Candy, Slim, Whit and Carlson.
Lennie does not like this place and also George is afraid of getting problems with Lennie again, because Curley wants to fight with everyone he thinks he can beat. Candy warns the newcomers about Curley's wife, who will flirt with every man.
Curley's wife arrives, looking for her husband. Lennie is attracted to her, but George warns him to stay away from her.
Slim is happy to have two experienced workers in his team. He quickly understands the limitations of Lennie and George's desire to protect the child-man.George explains that Lennie had almost been lynched at their last job. He had touched a girl's skirt and when she tried to pull away, all he could do was hold on harder. The girl claimed he had tried to rape her and only by running away had they saved themselves.
Besides that Slim's dog has slung nine pups last night and Lennie is more than happy to get one of them. Now he has something that he can stroke. George warns him to handle it too roughly.
While Lennie is playing with the pup in the barn, Slim and Carlson can persuade Candy to shoot his old, blind, bad smelling dog so that he will not have to suffer anymore.
Believing they are alone, George once more begins telling Lennie about the plan for a farm. Candy offers all his savings if he can join them. Of course they can do it. Then Curley enters in a worse mood than ever. When Lennie laughes at him Curley starts hitting Lennie. George tells Lennie to \"get him\". The big man crushes Curley's hand. When it's over Lennie is only worried that George may not permit him to tend the rabbits.
Next evening, while nearly everybody is in town, Lennie visits his puppy in the barn, where he also meets Crooks, a black, who is usually treated by the others. After a while Candy appears, too and they speak about black and white people, friendships and about the land Candy, Lennie, and George are hopefully going to get. Curley's wife also appears, looking for his husband, disturbes the meeting.
Next morning Lennie realizes that he has killed his puppy. Once again, he had petted the animal too hard, and when it tried to bite, Lennie pinched its head. Curley's wife comes and flirts with him. Stroking her hair, he cannot control himself. When she starts to move away, he will not let her to go. She becomes frightened and when she cries out, Lennie breaks her neck. Lennie remembers about the hiding place near the river and flees. Curley wants to kill the murderer and rounds up some men for a search. George goes to the riverbank. He finds Lennie and George once again repeats the story of the wonderful farm and the rabbits. While Lennie sits, George moves behind him and shoots him through the head.
George Milton and Lennie Small are so called \"real friends\". George promised Aunt Clara to take care of the half witted Lennie. That's why he helps him in every situation. George would never be able to leave Lennie, leave him alone in this world, because he knows, that Lennie woulddie soon. On the other hand, Lennie can also not leave George through he knows that Milton would then be able to live alone. While George is small and stronghands, his opposite and shadow is Lennie. He is a huge man with large eyes and with wide shoulders. He is a guy who walks heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. Lennie imitates George in every situation, he does exactly those things his friend makes. It seems as if George is something like a mother replace for Lennie. Lennie is not more than a baby, a kid that does not know how to handle with his strength. He behaves absolutely childishly.
He forgets nearly everything, lives in his dreams and wishes, has no own opinion. He is just looking for love, probably love he didn't get when he was a child.
George thinks and speaks for Lennie He protects him in every situation and punishes him for having done a mistake. Just those things that a mother has to do. But of course, George cannot really give love to him. As a result, Lennie receives it-love from the animals. But Lennie loves them to death, because he cannot control his strength.
Slim is a quiet understanding foreman. He understands Lennie's limitations.
Curley is the son of the boss. He is a small man and bad tempered. He is always looking for a fight. Curley's wife is dance-hall girl. She is disgusted with her suspicious, unpleasant husband. She is rather a naive, lonely woman.
Candy is an old, nearly senile laborer. Since he lost a hand he has been kept on to clean and do odd jobs. He lives in terror of being fired. Crooks is the hunchback Negro stablehand. The boss is the superintendent of the ranch.
There are two interpretations. First it's about plans demolished, of dreams destroyed. Not only George, Lennie and Candy dream about some wonderful place to settle down and escape the ugliness. Also Crooks and Slim have the same dream in different forms, but both agree that unlike most of the migrants talk about settling down, none do. George and Lennie have more than a dream. They have a specific plan.
A majorirony of the play lies in the clash between the good-hearted Lennie, with no intelligence to control his strngth and the vicious Curley, whose intelligence seems directed at destruction. Curley's desire for power triumphs over Lennie's hope for peace and security.
The title \"Of Mice ans Men\" tells the story of death of mice and men arising not only out of anger, but out of an excess of some kind of love. Lennie starts killing a mouse, but he stopps killing a human being. Lennie cannot help stroking anything soft, mostly animals, but his strength usually kills them. George loves Lennie in a different way, as if he were a stupid kid brother. He accepts Lennie as his responsibility. Lennie is a visible reminder to George of the farm of the future. He is also in a deeper sense a brother. This love leadsto death.
During the meeting between Crooks, Candy and Lennie does not just point out what a real friendship means and how it is to be lonely. He explains what it means to be black. Discrimination does not stop.
This story takes place where Steinbeck was born - in Salinas, California. It might have been at a time where black discrimination was no longer really actual, but still there.
The book is devided into six chapters. This story is told by an omniscent 3rd person narrator. The language is as \"bad\" as the lower class might have spoken. It's a kind of slang.
The story starts at the riverbank and finishes there, it has a beginning and an end. The story between has a climax and a retarding moment, because the hiding in the bush, the arrive of George and the continous telling about the rabbits make the reader believe in a hppy end. George and Lennie could escape and could make their dream come true. The ranch is the only thing Lennie never forgets.
THE STORY: Kino, a poor fisherman and pearl-diver, lives peacefully with his wife Juana and their baby Coyotito in a brush-house on the beach near La Paz.
One lovely morning a scorpion stings Coyotito, the baby. Juana sucks the poison from the puncture, but frightened for the baby's life, she wants to go to the doctor. They proced to town, followed by all the neighbours, but the doctor, an ignorant, cruel and greedy man sends them away, after making sure that they have no money to pay. Kino feels bitterly humiliated.
Kino returns to the beach with his family and they go out in their canue, hoping to find a pearl valuable enough to pay fot the baby's treatment. Kino finds among the rocks a very large oyster. He opens it and discovers the most beautiful and perfect pearl of the world. At the same moment Juana realizes that Coyotito seems to be recovering from the scorpion sting.
The news of Kino's found spread rapidly through the town. All kinds of people (the priest,the doctor, the beggars and the pearl buyers) dream about the beautiful pearl.
By some mysterious process, the posession oh the pearl has made Kino every man's enemy. Kino and Juana happily plan the future. Their dream is to marry in a church, wearing fine clothes. Kino will get a harpoon and Coyotito will attend the school.
Drawn by the pearl the doctor comes to their brush house and examines the baby, who is almost completely recovered.
When they are alone again, Kino burries the pearl in the earth. In the night Kino is hurt by a thief, who comes into their hut to searchthe pearl. Juana begs Kino to destroy the pearl, before it destroys them. But Kino just thinks about their future.
Accompanied by the neighbours they go to La Paz to sell their pearl to the buyers, who really represent only one person. They dismiss the pearl as a curiosity worth little. Angrily Kino refuses to sell the pearl in hope to get a better price if he goes to the Captal.
In the night Juana takes the pearl and runs to the beach but Kino awakes and stops her from throwing it into the sea. Kino is attacked once more and kills his enemy in the fight. Kino is a murderer now and their only chance is to flee, but their canoe is destroyed and their brush house sets on fire.
When they hide near the road, Kino takes out his pearl and wants to see the bright vision of the future. Instead he sees the dreadfull images of the past few days. In the night Kino awakes and sees three men searching Kino's trail. Now they are hunted like animals and have to hide in a small cave in the mountains hoping the hunters will miss them.The three men take a rest near the cave. Two men sleep and one watches by holding a rifle. Kino knows that their only chance is to kill the men. He exactly plans his attack, but his plan goes wrong. Before Kino can kill the three men, one of them shoots Coyotito.
Late in the afternoon of the fifth day, Kino and Juana who is carrying the dead baby return to La Paz. They walk down to the beach. Kino offers the pearl, which now seems very ugly to him. He fthrows the pearl into the sea and it sinks down through the water. Kino realizes that the pear destroys their harmonic life
Kino is a fisherman and pear-diver and lives under poor conditions, but he is happy. He is satidsfied but has one dream: He wants to reach higher education for his son and wants to marry Juana. Then he finds a pearl. He doesn't want to hear the warnings of Juana and his brother. He is very naive, he doesn't know how to handle his new power and becomes blind and cruel. The pearl becomes his soul. He risks his life and lives off his wife and his son, and in the end it is damaged. The pearl made him lose rather than win. But Kino understands too late. He has a strong emotional nature (e.g. feels rage for the doctor)
Juana is a warmhearted, sensitive, sensible, clever and strond woman. She is the only one who understands the signs of the pearl and Kino's change.
After the first bad event caused by the false glumour of the pearl, she is convinced of the evil it brings and tries again and again to make Kino throw the pearl and with it the evil away.
The doctor is a cruel and ignorant man. When Kino finds the pearl, the greed of the doctor awales. He poisons Coyotito. He could be the intruder in Kino's bush-house.
The pearl stands for any kind of wealth. The pearl gives Kino strenght. He only sees the money, the pearl will bring, and not his changes. by protecting his money he kills a few men. He is not able to throw his new richment away, because he thinls that his dreams could come true.
When Kino finds the pearl, the whole town, everybody dreams wat he could buy, if they find the pearl. When Kino is a poor fisherman, his family-life is happy. He is satisfied. But when he gets the wealth, his family is destroyed. He only sees in the pearl the good things, not the bad things it also can bring.
Everybody dreams to be rich. But wealth also brings cruelty, greedy, selfishness and jalousy. Nobody would throw the welth away like Kino does. Kino not only throws wealth away, but also his dreams. His dreams are that Coyotito attends school and marriage. But he sacrifices his son for wealth. Only his dead son opens Kino's eyes. But then it's too late. The pearl only brings evil. The doctor is more materialistic than Kino.
The Red Pony
STORY: In the book are four stories summerised. Each of them tells an adventure of Jody Tifflin a 10-year-old boy, who grows up on a ranch in Salinas.
In the first story Jody gets a pony, who is called Gabilan, from his father. Jody also gets the responsibility to care and clean the pony. This Jody should educate a sense of responsibility. But the boy isn't long happy because Billy, the farmhand, underestimates an illness of the pony and it dies. Jody thinks, that Billy is always right, but in this case he makes a mistake. Jody is very angry and kills a buzzard, which sits on the head of the dead pony.
The second story teachs Jody the world of an adult. One day a paisano comes and and wants to live on the ranch, because he was born there. But Mr.Tiflin rejects him. The paisano has to leave. He steals an old horse of Mr.Tiflin and rides away. Jody is even the only one, who seems to feel the sadness of an ending life.
In the third story Jody gets one pony again. But this time he has to work for it and has to wait until it's born, that takes one year. During his birth Billy has to kill the mother to rescue the pony. Jody once more makes the experience of the death. But in this case he not again kills an animal, but he accepts the death of the horse in resignation.
The last story tells about the grand-father. He comes to visit the family Tiflin. He always tells stories from his youth. The father doesn't like his stories, he has heard them very often. He ridicules the tellings and offends him. Jody has pity on the grand-father. This is the first step of Jody to escape the childhood.
These stories show the grewing of a boy. He is a very emotional kid. His father is a authority. Everything he says is law. Nobody is able to oppose him. In the beginning Jody is afraid of his father. But his attitude to other human-beings changes. Jody makes experience with pain, happiness, love abd death during his childhood and youth.
THE STORY: Above Monterey, fishing-port in California, there is an old district called Tortilla-Flat, inhabitated by paisanos people whose blood is a mixture of Spanish, Indian, Mexican and other varities. Some of them work a little in the fishcanning factories of Monterey, but most of them prefer to do nothing.
This is a story about the paisano Danny and his work-shy friends, the action taking place at the outbreak of the Word War I. Danny is 25-years old when then the war with Germany is declared. He and his friends Pilon and Joe Portagee get drunk. They make such a noise in front of the enlistment station that the sergeant wakes up and enlists them.
When Danny comes home from the war he finds that is an owner of property. His grand-father has died, leaving him two small houses on Tortilla Flat. He gets drunk and has spend 30 days in jail. One day the Sailer, Tito Ralph, brings two bottles of wine into his cell. After a while he goes out for more and Danny goes into the woods where he meets Pilon, clutching a bottle of brandy he has stolen. They eat and drink and in his drunkeness Danny remembers his houses and invites Pilon to live with him.
They inspect the bigger house and find out that it's easy to steal to chickens of the neighbour Mr.Morales. In the evening, well-fed, warm and happy they sit in rocking chairs. Pilon aggrees to rent the smaller house from Danny for 15 Dollars a month but of course cannot pay. If he sometimes gets hold of some money he at once buys wine and shares it with Danny. One day he does some work and earns two Dollars. He starts off to pay Danny the rent but on the way he buys two gallons of wine and changes his direction. He meets his friend Pablo who is on parole out of prison. Together they drink the wine and finally Pablo aggrees to live with Pilon for fifteen Dollars a month. Pilon thinks \"I will pay when Pablo pays\".
Life goes on smoothly and one day the come upon their friend Jesus Maria Corcoran sleeping, drunk in a ditch. Two nights before he found a little rowboat on the shore and sold it in Monterey for seven Dollars. He still has some money left, so they persuade him to join them in renting Danny's house. They get him to advance them two dollars to pay Danny but on the way to the house they decide to buy some wine for themselves. In the evening Jesus Maria joins them and they are very merry. While they are asleep a candle burns down and sets fire to the house. The three men escape and Jesus Maria is persuaded to run and tell Danny that his house is burning. But Danny is with his neighbour, Mrs.Morales, and does not wish to be disturbed. After his house has burned down Danny has a feeling of relief, he likes to feel free and to be popular. After seeping in the forest the three men decide they must go to Danny and confess their fault, but first they see some people having a picnic. Pilon, hiding, imitates various birds and animals and cry for help and the people leave their basket to investigate. A short time later the three men turn up at Danny's house , laden with good food. Danny is pleased to see them since he has become rather tired of Mrs.Morales. They can all live with him now, in return they promise to provide him with food.
All the paisanos of Monterey know the Pirate, a big ragged man who is a bit retarded and who lives in a hen house with his five dogs. Everyday he begs for food at the back doors of the restaurants and shares it with his dogs. Then he goes into the forest and chops wood which he sells in the streets every afternoon for 25 cents. Pilon realizes that he must board and hide the money some where as he never buys anything. It is impossible to find it, so he persuades the Pirate to come and live in Danny's house with his dogs, thinking that it will then be easier to track the money down. The Pirate is very proud of this new friendship and likes living in Danny's house, but still the othewrs cannot find his secret board. At last they frighten him so much by telling stories of hidden money, which is stolen, that he brings a large bag of coins from the hiding place. He tells them that he promised