"A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ," - John Steinbeck. This quote explains a lot about Steinbeck's life and his perspective on the time period in which he lived. The majority of the America at the time was sad, and it seemed easy for many to just give up. Steinbeck lived in a time period that was overwhelmingly pessimistic, yet was able to become very successful. This is Steinbeck's story as told through his biography, literary works, life experiences, and his legacy.
John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California (Webster 1338). He was born into a middle class family and was the third of four children being the only boy (Hamilton 26). His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, was a county treasurer, and his mother, Olive Hamilton, was a teacher (Harmon). Steinbeck had three sisters; Esther, Mary, and Elizabeth (Harmon). In his early years of education, Steinbeck excelled greatly in literature. He wrote articles under a fake name to the local newspaper and people all around the small town loved his work. When he was in high school, Steinbeck became a writer for his school newspaper as well (Williams). In his later life, Steinbeck married three times. He married Carol Henning first, which lasted for 13 years, he then married Gwyndolyn Conger, which lasted about five years. His last wife, Elaine Anderson, lasted for eighteen years (Hinds 87). When Steinbeck was older he developed many interests that developed from many friends in literature. He took a great interest in philosophy and had many conversations with people about it constantly. He took a great interest to science, specifically marine biology along with his friend Ed Ricketts (Hughes 45). Steinbeck attended Salinas elementary school and was advanced when compared to the other students in his class in literature. In high school, at Salinas High School, where he wrote for his school newspaper, he graduated in the top 5% in his class (Schultz 14).