What are common themes among Steinbeck books?

Question by ief: What are common themes among Steinbeck books?

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Answer by Yupsiree!
Clarification / Good vs Evil
Gave the guy below a thumbs up. Most people would say “East of Eden” is the quintessential (and best) Steinbeck book. Yeah, it’s a monster compared to “Mice and Men” and “Winter of Our Discontent,” but compared to “Grapes of Wrath,” it’s more upbeat and harder to put down.

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3 thoughts on “What are common themes among Steinbeck books?”

  1. love the man it is the earth and sea and the blood and flesh he puts on his characters and just the way he winds the words that fall like rain on a tin roof it is the rightness of cause against injustice death or life it is of home and hearth that he writs of there are books that we remember and Steinbeck is always readable it is the challenge of humanness against inhuman treatment that is the crux of the man and the writer

  2. Half of Steinbeck’s writings present ethnic characters whose identity is in crisis because of the conflict between cultures. For his Indians, whether in Mexico or the United States, efforts to retain the pastoral world and its values are tragically doomed. Indeed, the call of a lost Eden brings conflict with contemporary society to most Steinbeck characters. His characters cannot escape past influences: be it biological, cultural, religious, or the collective activities of migration and war. To become conscious of these hidden drives is the human quest. Evolutionary stages are represented by either unconscious memory or expressed in cultural myths as, say, the Garden of Eden. And this pressure for change, which is particularly American, and the conflict it brings, is the underlying Steinbeck theme. Nor should the reader overlook the domestic conflict between men and women. It may encompass the issue of power, of cultural influence as in “Flight,” or of vast unused leadership to be tapped through Ma Joad. Certainly Steinbeck’s work is saturated in history: fascism and Marxism in the thirties; the loss of national ideals after World War II. He draws upon the intellectual movements of his time in anthropology, biology, and psychology. His historical perspective then was termed “holistic”–defined today as ecological, with human beings biologically and culturally connected to the universe and using human will to blend past and future. Steinbeck’s last works are autobiographical, questioning whether he succeeded as father, husband, artist. And, intriguingly, he questions within those novels the extent to which his private life influenced his fiction.

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