The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a nearly hopeless situation, partly because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, they set out for California along with thousands of other “Okies” in search of land, jobs and dignity. When preparing to write the novel, Steinbeck wrote: “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects].” The book won Steinbeck a large following amongst ordinary people and the working class, partly due to the book's sympathy to the worker's movement and its accessible style.
The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940; the endings of the book and the movie differ greatly.
Just as the Iron Curtain fell on Eastern Europe, Steinbeck and Capa began a remarkable journey through the Soviet Union. Their travels took them to Moscow and Stalingrad. What they saw and recorded was what Steinbeck called the "great other side", the ordinary lives of Russian men and women. Combining Steinbeck's compassion, humour and eye for detail with Capa's photographic studies, this text is a unique potrait of Russia and its people as they emerged from the ravages of war. Here too is an intimate glimpse of two great artists at work.
This novel takes place in the eponymous Cannery Row, a place made up of ’junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses’. Although there is a narrative trajectory — the desire of Mack and the other boys living at the Palace Flophouse to throw a party for their friend and benefactor, Doc — the plot of this novel is really that plot of land Steinbeck describes so well.
Sweet Thursday is a 1954 novel by John Steinbeck. It is a sequel to Cannery Row and set in the years after the end of World War II. According to the author, “Sweet Thursday” is the day after Lousy Wednesday and the day before Waiting Friday.
Steinbeck’s last great novel focuses on the theme of success and what motivates men towards it. Reflecting back on his New England family’s past fortune, and his father’s loss of the family wealth, the hero, Ethan Allen Hawley, characterizes success in every era and in all its forms as robbery, murder, even a kind of combat, operating under “the laws of controlled savagery”.