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Objectives (Taken from p. 40 of the ODE SS Standards)
Web Sites for Information on John Steinbeck
Web Sites for Information on the Dustbowl
Student Poster Activity
Student Writing Activity
Life in California John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902 to John Ernst and Olive Steinbeck. He grew up at this house in Salina, California.
The Early Years 1919 -1925 - Attended classes at Stanford University. Originally an English major, he pursued his interests rather than following a particular course of study. He dropped out for several months to work at many different jobs. 1925 - Steinbeck left Stanford for good without graduating.
Life in New York November 1925 -He left California to pursue a writing career in New York. He worked at a variety of jobs including construction work on Madison Square Garden and reporting for the New York American. 1926 -A lack of acceptance of his writing in New York led Steinbeck to return to California.
• 1935 Tortilla Flat - his first popular success • 1936 In Dubious Battle • 1937 Of Mice and Men and The Red Pony • 1938 The Long Valley • 1939 The Grapes of Wrath - Steinbeck’s greatest critical success • 1940 Films of Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath were released.
After separating from his first wife, Steinbeck moved to New York in 1941, publishing several more books leading up to his death. • 1942 The Moon is Down • 1945 Cannery Row • 1947 The Wayward Bus and The Pearl • 1950 Burning Bright • 1952 East of Eden • 1954 Sweet Thursday • 1961 The Winter of Our Discontent
1938 Their Blood is Strong - about migrant labor problems 1941 Sea of Cortez - written with Edward Ricketts 1942 Bombs Away - World War II accounts 1943 War Correspondent for New York Herald Tribune 1948 A Russian Journal- story of his 1947 Russian trip 1952 The Log from the Sea of Cortez 1958 Once There was a War- 1943 war dispatches 1962 Travels With Charley - journal of 1960 tour of the US
The Nobel Prize for Literature “The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement. ” Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech 1962
The Dust Bowl
What was the Dust Bowl? The Dust Bowl of the 1930 s lasted about ten years affecting the southern Plain States. Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico were some of the most hardest hit and devastated lands.
What Caused the Dust Bowl? The Dust Bowl was caused by poor farming practices and years of consistent drought.
Poor Farming Practices Plains grasslands had been deeply plowed and planted with wheat. During the years when there was plenty of rainfall, the lands produced good crops. But as the droughts of the early 1930 s deepened, the farmers kept plowing and planting making the land very infertile for new crops.
Clouded Terror! The Plains winds whipped across the fields raising large and thick clouds of dust to the sky. The sky could darken for days. Even the most well sealed homes could have a thick layer of dust on the furniture. The dust could be compared to heavy drifting snow.
Woody Guthrie was a popular folk singer in the 1930 s through the 1940 s. He wrote songs that told stories about the heartland of America. Guthrie was born July 14, 1912, in Okema, Oklahoma. He lived through the Dust Bowl, writing songs to entertain the Dust Bowl refugees he traveled with on the road. In the 1940 s, Guthrie recorded a series of songs he called the Dust Bowl Ballads. Here is an example of one of his ballads, called Dust Bowl Blues
Dust Bowl Blues By: Woody Guthrie I just blowed in, and I got them dust bowl blues, (repeat) I just blowed in, and I’ll blow back out again. I guess you’ve heard about ev’ry kind of blues, (repeat) But when the dust gets high, you can’t even see the sky. I’ve seen the dust so black that I couldn’t see a thing, (r. ) And the wind so cold, boy, it nearly cut you water off. I seen the wind so high that it blowed my fences down, (r. ) Buried my tractor 6 feet underground. Well, it turned my farm into a pile of sand, (r. ) I had to hit that road with a bottle in my hand. I spent ten years in that old dust bowl, (r. ) When you get that dust pneumony, boy, it’s time to go. I had a gal, and she was young and sweet, (r. ) But a dust storm buried her 16 feet. (Continuing before song completes will end it)
Dust Bowl Blues (cont. ) She was a good gal, long, tall, and stout, (r. ) I had to get a steam shovel just to dig my darlin’ out. These dust bowl blues are the dustiest ones I know, Buried head over heels in the black old dust, I had to pack up and go. An’ I just blowed in, an’ I’ll soon blow out again. From: http: //blueslyrics. tripod. com
Dust Bowl Refugees Like the Joads, many people tried to flee the Plain States. Many coming from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arkansas moving west to California. There were many homeless families who went to look for jobs.