What Do I Read Next?
The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about migrant farm workers pursuing a happy life that is always just out of reach. During the Great Depression, the Joad family leaves dustbowl Oklahoma for California, where they hope to find a better life.
"The White Quail’’ (1935) by John Steinbeck, collected in The Long Valley (1938) alongside ‘‘The Chrysanthemums.’’ Mary Teller's dream of the perfect garden has such a firm hold on her that she gives all her devotion to it, ignoring even her lonely husband.
"The Snake’’ (1935), a strange story by Steinbeck, collected in The Long Valley (1938). A woman enters an animal laboratory, buys a male snake, and asks to see it eat a rat. Though critics have interpreted the character differently, Steinbeck claimed ''I wrote it just as it happened. I don't know what it means.''
Winesburg, Ohio (1919), a novel by Sherwood Anderson made up of thematically related stories. A young reporter encounters and learns the secrets of several of the inhabitants of his small town. Anderson's way of exploring people's secret lives influenced Steinbeck.
The Awakening (1899), by Kate Chopin. A woman feels bored and unfulfilled with marriage and attempts to find her true self by having an extramarital affair. A century ago, this novel caused a furor.
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), by Steinbeck's contemporary, Zora Neale Hurston. An African-American woman in rural Florida learns, through her relationships with three men, to rely upon herself and her own definition of herself to become a whole person.