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Travels With Charley: In Search Of America

             Travels With Charley: In Search Of America.
             John Ernst Steinbeck, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, led a prominent and influential life. Born in Salinas, California in 1902, Steinbeck grew up about 25 miles from the Pacific Coast, a location that would serve as the setting for some of his best novels. Steinbeck's father was a county treasurer and his mother was a teacher. During summers, Steinbeck worked as a hired hand on nearby ranches, saving money and indulging the California countryside and its people. After graduating from Salinas High School in 1919, Steinbeck attended Stanford University. At Stanford, he enrolled in literature and writing courses until his departure in 1925 without taking a degree. Throughout these early years several of his poems and short stories appeared in university publications, although nothing major was ever published. During the next five years of his life, Steinbeck supported himself working as a laborer. Steinbeck also tried out the career of freelance writer and journalist in New York City, but ultimately failed and moved back to California. At this time, Steinbeck worked many odd jobs, including a caretaker for an estate in Lake Tahoe. Also during this period of his life, Steinbeck married his first wife, Carol Henning. Throughout this time in Steinbeck's life, he was diligently working on his first novel, Cup of Gold, published in 1929. After his marriage, he returned back to Pacific Grove to have a new basis for his writing. John Steinbeck next published two more California fiction based novels, The Pasture of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933). Also during this period of time, Steinbeck worked on a series of short stories, later titled and published as The Long Valley (1938). .
             John Steinbeck's first major success did not come consecutively with the beginning of his career. Steinbeck's financial security and popularity came with the publishing of his third novel, Tortilla Flat (1935).

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