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More a Mouse Than a Man If an author does not have at least one great popular success he or she may well be ignored by the media but if he or she is constantly popular then the critics become suspicious of the writers serious intentions Benson Introduction What do critics from the literary world have to say about Steinbecks writings Critics have much to say both positive and negative What link exists between Steinbeck and his writings Perhaps the most noteworthy biographical link between Steinbeck and his writings is that he was born and came to maturity in the Salinas Valley In this area of California bounded on the north and south by the Pajaro and Jolon valleys on the west and east by the Pacific Ocean and the Gabilan Mountains Steinbeck found the materials for his fiction Tedlock 3 John Steinbecks agricultural upbringing in the California area vibrantly shines through in the settings and story lines of the majority of his works John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas California on February 27 1902 His fathers family originally called Grossteinbeck had come from Wuppertal about twenty miles east of the German city of Dsseldorf During summers he worked as a hired hand on nearby ranches nourishing his impression of the California countryside and its people Lisca 32 He made occasional exciting trips to San Francisco with his family and more frequent trips to the Monterey peninsula Fontenrose 2 In 1918 he became ill with pneumonia and almost died but he was able to recover After graduating from Salinas High School in 1919 Steinbeck enrolled at Stanford University taking courses in English and Marine Science Bloom 11 He was always an excellent student eager to learn both in and out of school interested in books music science religion and sports Fontenrose 3 During this time he worked as a sales clerk farm laborer ranch hand and factory worker and left Stanford permanently
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