On this day in 1939, John Steinbeck's great novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was first published. Many consider this epic about the struggles of migrant farm workers his strongest and most durable novel-- a call for social justice with his pen.
"In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable," Steinbeck said.
Steinbeck won a Pulitzer Prize for this "fable of human persistence" which explained the journey of the Joad family from the Oklahoma dustbowl to the promise of California.
"To be alive at all is to have scars," said the man who wrote about human dignity, the American dream, and quest for a better life.
John Ernst Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in Salinas, California, what he called "the salad bowl of the nation." He learned the joys of reading and writing from his mother, a school teacher.
His novel East of Eden (1952), featured unforgettable characters, who recreated the biblical struggles of Cain and Abel, good and evil, for two generations. Steinbeck said the book was "the big one as far as I'm concerned. Always before I held something back for later. Nothing is held back here."
"I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature," he said.
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 "...for his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception."
"The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world,' Steinbeck said. "And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true."
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