John Steinbeck has become one of my all-time favorite authors, after I was first exposed to his novels in middle school. He is one of the most popular American novelists, whose works have had a lasting effect on American people, even today.
I have recently read The Grapes of Wrath, which is one of Steinbeck’s most renowned works, earning the illustrious Pulitzer Prize. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers who are driven from their home in Oklahoma by drought, economic hardship, agricultural changes and bank foreclosures. Trapped in the Dust Bowl with little chance in escaping their unfortunate situation, the Joads set out for California with the hope of new opportunities. The Grapes of Wrath portrays the economic hardships of people during the Great Depression, as well as the American dream of freedom, dignity, and a better future.
In addition to The Grapes of Wrath, I have read The Pearl, Of Mice and Men (one of my all time favorites), Cannery Row, and the East of Eden. Steinbeck’s writing style certainly makes his works intriguing and his use of figurative language, especially imagery, helps the reader to imagine the vivid scenes and time period of his stories. Through characterization, readers are able to relate to his unique characters and feel their burdens and everyday hardships. I especially love Steinbeck’s novels because they urge me to read in between the lines and think more deeply about the true meaning of his stories.
Although his writing may seem simpler and easier to understand than most classics, I have found that each of his novels convey a different theme and underlying motives are hidden throughout his plots. Each time I reread a novel, for instance, I am able to come across new ideas I had never noticed before, making my reading experience more interesting and thrilling. John Steinbeck is certainly an influential author, who is able to transport you to new time periods and places through the power of his words. I definitely recommend his novels to students in middle school searching for a good classic, and urge those above the ages of thirteen to continue to read and appreciate the works of the wonderful John Steinbeck!
-Kaylie W., 10th grade