John Steinbeck was born in February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. Salinas was an agricultural valley in California. The community was a comfortable environment for him to live in because of the encouragement of independence and initiative. His parents didn't want him to be a writer. They wanted him to have a true profession as a lawyer. His early interest in reading led him through school, with his main interest in science. At age 15 he decided to become a writer, influenced by an English teacher, and faintly remembered by schoolmates for spending so much time in his room writing. After graduating from high school, he went to Stanford University in1920. (www.kirjasto.sci.fi/johnstei.htm) While he was there he contributed to the school paper by writing poems and comics. He took courses in science and writing, but never received a degree. In 1925, when he left Stanford, he became a marine biologist. He moved to New York in 1925 to work as a reporter for a newspaper. Always being a non-conformist, he was fired from the newspaper for writing opinions instead of facts. This started the many jobs he would be a part of in his lifetime. Some of these jobs include an apprentice hod carrier, an apprentice printer, a working chemist, caretaker of Lake Tahoe Estate, surveyor in Big Sur County, and a fruit picker. He also worked other more physically labored jobs, such as a rancher, road worker, deck hand, cotton picker, and bricklayer. While involved in these jobs, he made many close friends that he came to admire because of their cant and hypocrisy which he applauded and whom all of these people soon were characters in his novels. Many of these experiences were the helpers to his many novels. His fruit picking and Great Depression led him to write The Grapes of Wrath, his best known and most ambitious of his works. Also, he wrote Of Mice and Men, which was formed from his job as a hired hand on the many farms he worked.