Steinbeck, John 1902–1968
See also John Steinbeck Criticism (Volume 1), and Volumes 5, 9, 21, 124.
Steinbeck was an American novelist, short story writer, dramatist, and essayist. He is best known for his realistic and vivid portrayal of the hardships of the Great Depression in The Grapes of Wrath, which depicts a group of sharecroppers en route to California. While exposing the ordeal of their poverty, Steinbeck also seeks to affirm the sanctity of life and the unifying, clarifying forces inherent in human suffering. Although he was a popular success, Steinbeck has not enjoyed a consistently favorable critical reception. Critics note that his strong, sympathetic characterizations often lapse into sentimentality, although many find that the strength of his narrative line often compensates for this weakness. Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.