John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. He had a pretty average childhood with a supportive family and a decent education. While growing up his mother, Olive Hamilton, was a major factor in his education, since she was a schoolteacher and made it her duty to educate him. His mother most likely was the reason he developed a love of reading and literature and ended up going to Stanford. In his child there were only two major events that affected his writing. These were when he worked on a ranch with migrant workers, and when his father’s business failed and the family was temporarily thrust into poverty. These two events most likely sparked his interest in the poor lives of the migrant workers. His experiences on
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Although, before I start discuss his writing I would like to talk about Steinbeck’s good friend, Ed Ricketts. Ricketts was a biologist who strongly influenced Steinbeck’s earlier writing. Steinbeck and Ricketts were very close friends for many years and would often spend time together (when Steinbeck wasn’t writing of course). In fact, an expedition they took together in the Gulf of California formed the basis of Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Ricketts influenced Steinbeck so strongly that he was actually the basis for quite a few characters in many of Steinbeck’s novels. Most notably, he was the basis for Doc in Canary Row. Unfortunately though, Rickets died in 1948 in a train collision. This event devastated Steinbeck and after that point the skillfulness in his writing unfortunately declined.
Relating to his writing, one of the few ways that it is possible to detect Steinbeck’s personal life is by looking at the way he wrote or more specifically his style. His writing style was very interesting since he wrote mainly in a naturalistic style. This style is when an author uses very descriptive scenes of the environment in order to develop a sense in the book that the environment and setting are highly important. Authors who use this style often make it seem as if the characters have little will and are only reacting to their changing environment. Steinbeck used this style beautifully with vivid descriptions of the