Dimitra

John Steinbeck

39 posts in this topic

So, I noticed yesterday that there was no thread about Steinbeck or the books I've read from him, so I thought I would make a general one about the author.

I've read East Of Eden and The Grapes Of Wrath. I loved East of Eden and liked TGOW too, but I thought that the first one was better.

In EOE, he deals with the nature of good and evil in this Salinas Valley saga. The story follows two families: the Hamiltons - based on Steinbeck's own maternal ancestry - and the Trasks, reprising stories about the Biblical Adam and his progeny.

TGOW is set in the Great Depression and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl.

His style of writing is unique. He has a great way of picturing his characters, and most importantly the times they live in. Throughout his books, he dedicates some chapters in describing the changes in society.

If anyone has read any of his works, he may want to discuss it here.:D

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The only two Steinbeck books I've read are The Pearl and Of Mice and Men, and both of those were at school in my English class and I remember enjoying them, but I've never read any more of his books since.

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East of Eden is one of the books I re-read every so often, just because I love it so much. Cathy (or Kate) is probably my favourite character of any book, ever.

I know she's evil, but she's so alive.

Steinbeck's description of the Salinas valley is so evocative it practically jumps off the page. I you haven't already, go read it right now!

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I have a bunch of his books on my wish list. I hear nothing but good this about him. I would like to read his books one day.

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I have read Of Mice and Men and am currently reading The Grapes of Wrath. True of both these novels is the immense descriptive skill of Steinbeck; his descriptions of settings -- in particular Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl in the latter novel -- are truly formidable, and paint a very vivid image indeed in one's mind.

 

On my shelf I have The Pearl, which I plan on reading sometime in the (hopefully) near future.

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I'm also reading The Grapes of Wrath at the moment and I agree about the imagery. His writing is just fantastic!

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I have never been able to enjoy John Steinbeck, quite the contrary, I can't stand his writing. I have completely read East of Eden and attempted some others. Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, and Of Mice and Men. Couldn't finish the latter three.

 

I wish I could explain what it is about him that puts me off so...to me he is flat and uninspiring and downright turgid. I kept trying because so many people think his books are so innovative and wonderful.

 

Oh well, lots of people don't like my favorites, so I guess the world will keep spinning, and we'll keep reading. :)

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I have never been able to enjoy John Steinbeck, quite the contrary, I can't stand his writing. I have completely read East of Eden and attempted some others. Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, and Of Mice and Men. Couldn't finish the latter three.

 

I wish I could explain what it is about him that puts me off so...to me he is flat and uninspiring and downright turgid. I kept trying because so many people think his books are so innovative and wonderful.

 

Oh well, lots of people don't like my favorites, so I guess the world will keep spinning, and we'll keep reading. :D

 

Thank goodness for that, someone else who doesn't like Steinbeck, I thought I was the only one. I was forced to read Mice and Men at school, and frankly, found it rather boring and overlong for a book that basically had one statement to make; albeit that it was a worthy one.

 

....and nobody seems to have heard of my fave book either.:D

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....and nobody seems to have heard of my fave book either.:D

 

Ok, what is your favorite book? :lol::friends0:

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It's worth re-reading Steinbeck as an adult. I had to read Of Mice and Men at the tender age of 15/16 and hated it.

 

Revisited it about 10 years later and absolutely loved it. I think my favourite of his was "The Winter of our Discontent", probably the best example of a "morality tale" I've ever come across without ever coming across as preachy.

 

Really good writer, although from reading the comments section, clearly not everyone's cup of tea! :lol:

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Ok, what is your favorite book? :lol::D

 

Um, I could say look at my signature, but that would be a lie. I have about 10 of them, so I'm not 100% faithful to TAL. uuuuhhhh....lemmee go away and think about that one.

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I like East of Eden, because I think that the story is timeless and could happen these days as well! The second steinbeck book I read ist Once there was a war, but I found this one rather depressing!

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I am hugely fond of Steinbeck. To date I have read six of his books and have stockpiled almost all of his work.

 

Last month I tackled his own personal favourite of his novels, and his most political, In Dubious Battle. It focuses on a couple of men, Jim and Mac, who are clearly Communist Party activists though they

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Cathy (or Kate) is probably my favourite character of any book, ever.

I know she's evil, but she's so alive.

I agree. She really is a fantastic character. I wasn't so keen on the book, she was the main reason I kept reading.

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Yes, he has definitely used his own experiences in his books! He did a lot of casual work and he also was a war correspondent. I think this personal experiences made his books so authentic! Once there was a war is based on his diary during his time as a war correspondent!

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I read 'Grapes of Wrath' years ago, and enjoyed it very much! Always meant to read more by this author, and will probably look for 'East of Eden' since it seems so many others give it a positive rating.

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I read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck at school and this experience unfortunately dissuaded me from reading any more of Steinbeck's work for a long time.

 

I decided to try The Grapes of Wrath a month ago after coming across it again and again in 'Must read lists' all across the internet. And I'm glad I did.

 

This book really stuck with me from the beginning. Unlike a lot of my favourite novels which take some time to get into, you are completely engrossed in Steinbeck's story from the start. The way the fictional story is interwoven with short chapters drawn on the history of the Great Depression through an objective lens really brings home the fact that for some people, this was the reality. I truly felt like I was one of the Joads, fighting through their struggles alongside them. The feeling of hope that illuminated the first few chapters really had you hooked - you wanted the Joads to reach their destination of wealth and prosperity, as unlikely as you knew it to be.

 

My heart really went out to all those countless immigrants looking for a better life. My mind often comes back to this novel when I read the news and hear more stories of immigrants trying desperately to enter the UK, often risking life and limb to reach the 'green grass' of Great Britain. It makes me wonder how far we have really come from The Grapes of Wrath. This is definitely a story that has stayed with me - it's not something I can read again, but it touched my heart in a way that very few stories have done.

 

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this fantastic piece of work, and how you think it translates to modern life.

Edited by Angury

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I remember we had to read this at school. Always remember it being a bit doom and gloom at the time, but now appreciate what it was all about. I have seen it done as a play too which was very good.

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I've merged these two topics as they both discuss John Steinbeck and also Grapes of Wrath. I own two books by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men and Tortilla Flat, but I haven't read them yet. One day...

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I'm a teacher, and am annoyed that I won't be able to teach OMAM anymore. A good book that the pupils generally always enjoyed.

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Am I missing something, or why won't you be able to teach it anymore?

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It's getting removed from the GCSE curriculum. Bigger focus on writers in England, rather than writers who write in English. Fairly narrow minded choice.

 

Will teach Jekyll and Hyde and The Sign Of Four starting next year. Neither excites me from a reading or teaching perspective.

 

I guess it could be taught lower down the school, but the push will naturally be towards books of a similar context/ilk.

Edited by thatdifficultfirstnovel

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That is a big shame, my son did OMAM and Animal Farm for his GCSE this year and loved them both. Waiting to hear what he will be doing for his A Level and what my daughter will be doing for her GCSE now. They really need good books with understandable references!

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I like Sign Of Four, but don't think there is enough meat to it. Didn't like Jekyll, but there is meat to it, yet it is much too difficult for many pupils.

 

Animal Farm is where I'd be looking, since that is still an option I believe.

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