What events influenced and were a part of John Steinbeck's early life?

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jeffdswan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Steinbeck had numerous experiences in his early life that had a clear impact on his career as an author. Steinbeck lived in a very rural town located in a highly fertile area of California and found early work on a series of beet farms. Here he came in close contact with many migrant workers and developed a sense of the hardships of their lives. This time spent as a farm employee directly contributed to several of his works, most notably Of Mice and Men. It is also noteworthy that he was afforded time throughout his youth to write; thus he began to develop his craft. His mother had formerly been a schoolteacher and it is likely that she was a major source of his love for reading and writing. Steinbeck himself suffered a fair deal of hardship, having failed at his attempts to make a living as a businessman, and then living with little means as the Great Depression gripped the nation. His success as an author directly depended on the support that he received from his family and his wife—they enabled him to continue to write instead of toiling in a menial labor position.