John Steinbeck

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Why is John Steinbeck important?

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kmusani eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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John Steinbeck is considered to be an important and influential author for several reasons.

He is widely recognized to this day for several of the novels that he wrote and the messages that these novels communicated; his books were relatable to the masses, and he brought a personal touch to his writing. For example, one of his most famous novels is The Grapes of Wrath, which reveals the economic problems faced by agricultural workers during the Great Depression.

Steinbeck also used his skills as a writer to work as a war correspondent during World War II. He wrote about Norway under Nazi rule in his book The Moon Is Down.

Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." He was also given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon B. Johnson.

Overall, Steinbeck's clear and informative writing provides insight into the lives of various groups of people. He lived though turbulent times in American history (the Great Depression and World War II), and his works are widely studied in schools to this day.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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John Steinbeck is important for several reasons.

The first reason Steinbeck is important is his documentation of several crucial elements of American life and culture. He wrote about the plight of migrant workers, poor farmers, and others who lived economically marginal lives. He wrote about the Great Depression so powerfully that his works still shape American understanding of this national trauma.

However, the most important reason Steinbeck is important is the quality of his writing. He’s considered great. His writing is realistic, contains articulate political analysis, applies and examines powerful symbols, and, most important of all, is emotionally moving and beautiful.

You can see the importance and quality of his work in the fact that Steinbeck won a Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath, and a Nobel Prize for his body of work.

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