By: Michael Butzer and Kareem Moussa
Characteristics: During the beginning of the great depression, Steinbeck became a writer. His first novel, Cup of Gold, was written in 1929, which was his "debut" of his writing career. He has a couple of Pulitzer Prize winning novels which include The Grapes of Wraith (1939), East of Eden (1952), and Of Mice and Men (1937). He is the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1962.
Significance: Steinbeck was known as the best American writer of his time period. Many of Steinbeck's works are on required reading lists in American high schools. A study by the Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature in the United States found that Of Mice and Men was one of the ten most frequently read books in public high schools. However, one of his books, The Grapes of Wraith, was banned in some high schools and middle schools, and Steinbeck was one of the top ten most frequently banned authors in the late 90s to early 2000s. Few writers, if any, have better described the miserable conditions endured by so many in the great depression.