John Steinbeck lived a life of constant up and downs, successes and failures before he landed on his feet and became a famous author. John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902. He was the only son and the third child of John Ernst Steinbeck and Olive Hamilton. Steinbeck’s father owned comfortable Victorian house in Salinas. John’s father managed the Sperry Flour Mill.
Things were pretty good for the Steinbeck, they were settled in a nice home they did not have to many financial problems, but then economic difficulties forced John’s father dismissal from the mill. Steinbeck’s father deiced to open a feed and grain store and go into business himself. The store struggled to survive and eventually failed completely. A close friend of John’s father got him a job as an account for the Spreckles Sugar Company. “Although he had a job, John’s father was extremely devastated by the lose of his business”(Stephen)“Encouraged by his parents John began to develop a love literature”(Morrow). At his ninth birthday John received a copy of the book Morte d’Arthur.
This was the first book John ever owned. He later said it was a great influence upon his life. During his years at Salinas High School, John excelled in English. At the end of his Freshman year in High School John had determined that he wanted to become a writer. At the end of his Senior year John applied to Stanford University and was accepted as an English major.
Coming of his success in high school John felt very confidante that he would succeed. To pay for his education John went to school half a year and worked the other half. John found college boring and felt that he was a “writer in training”(Ito, 14) not a college student. After six years of struggling to pass John left Stanford in 1925. “John was far from confidant about his future”(Harmon, 56) so he packed his few belongings and headed to a resort near Lake Tahoe.
One of John friends found him a job at Lake Tahoe in June of 1925. His plan was to make enough money to become a freelance writer in New York City. Low on funds John signed on as a working berth on a freighter headed to New York is November of 1925. When he arrived in New York John got a job as a newspaper cub reporter. He finally seemed to a secure job and things seemed alright. After a couple of months working as a reported John realized that he did not fit this kind of job.
“Due to his lack of experience John was never given a chance to show his talent and he was given unimportant assignments with no value”(Morrow 75). Numerous times he failed to show up at work and was soon after fired. Barely scraping by John wrote a collection of short stories. He went to two publishing companies and he was shot down by both.
One explained that they would not publish an unknown writer, they other refused to publish short stories. Heart-broken and broke John got a job as a waiter on a California bound freighter and headed back to his old job at Lake Tahoe. To just make things a little harder for John when he arrived at his old job, winter was close behind and he got snowed in for eight months. He took advantage of this time and wrote A Cup of Gold, a biography of the pirate Henry Morgan.
A publishing company called McBride and Company agreed to publish A Cup of Gold and the book was on shelves in the autumn of 1929. Then in 1930 John married Carol Henning. To add on to John’s good luck streak one of his books The Pastures of Heaven was published in 1932. In 1933 To a God Unknown and two parts of The Red Pony were published.
John finally seemed to be on his feet. In 1934 John won the O. Henry prize for his short story “The Murderer”, but that prize came at a price. John’s mother Olive Steinbeck died from paralysis. After grieving the lose of his mother, John had to continue on and trying and get over this one of many hurdles in his life.
Pascal Covici, who worked for McIntosh & Otis contracted John to publish Tortilla Flat threw his company. Tortilla Flat was published in 1935 and “was destined to become John’s first commercial success and literary classic”(Ito, 33). The book was an immediate success for John, but once again there was a dark side to John’s success, his father John Ernest Steinbeck died. “Steinbeck resolved that he would never abandon the pursuit of his own professional destiny as a writer”(Ito, 35). “The success of Tortilla Flat had gained him national renown”(Pastori). John had finally gotten the respect and recognition the he deserved.
In 1937 Of Mice and Men was published and was chosen by the Book-of-the-Month club. Continuing with John’s success The Grapes of Wraith was published in 1939. This book was and still is considered to be one of the best books written. John gained extreme fame from this novel. “This novel is still effecting generations today”(Ito, 49)John Steinbeck lived through some tough times of ups and downs. Whenever things seemed to be going right for him, everything turned around.
John had to jump many hurdles to finally make his life long dream come true, become a writer. After many years of hardships John landed on his feet and made it as a famous author.