Presentation on theme: "Steinbeck and Ecology We will be using John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath to structure our exploration of the environment."— Presentation transcript:
Steinbeck and Ecology We will be using John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath to structure our exploration of the environment.
Who is Steinbeck? John Steinbeck (27 Feb 1902 - 20 Dec 1968) American writer whose 27 books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939), East of Eden (1952) and Of Mice and Men (1937). He was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, for his “realistic and imaginative writing, combining as it does sympathetic humor and keen social perception.”
Important Facts: Considered the foremost novelist of the American Depression of the 1930s, John Steinbeck was the 1962 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He studied firsthand the struggles of the migrant workers; he celebrates their labor in ritualistic terms and shows the downtrodden overcoming their many adversities through courage and dignity, and through their compassion for fellow sufferers.
Steinbeck Quotes: “It is not enough to say that we cannot know or judge because all the information is not in. The process of gathering knowledge does not lead to knowing. A child's world spreads only a little beyond his understanding while that of a great scientist thrusts outward immeasurably. “ “…all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again." — John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)John SteinbeckThe Log from the Sea of Cortez
When published in 1939, the book was severely criticized for being a "socialist" or "communist" novel.
The Grapes of Wrath A key issue explored in the novel is agriculture. We see the shift from family farms to corporate agribusiness, and the hunger of the dispossessed. “The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control. And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread. The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it had no prayers or curses.”
How green was Steinbeck? Steinbeck early on in his career developed an interest in Ecology with a keen awareness of how natural and changing environmental conditions affected animal populations, their growth or dwindling, their shifting habitats, their survival strategies, etc.
Points to Consider… Steinbeck explored the major issues of the day, greed and corruption, friendship and loyalty, fear and survival, weakness and heroism. Steinbeck’s insightful writing resonates with many modern developments in ecological and environmental thinking.
Construct a T-chart comparing the dust bowl to global warming. Dust Bowl – 1930’s What were the causes of the dust bowl? How were the farmers affected? What was the reason for the migration from the dust bowl? Where did the people from the dust bowl go? Global Warming - 2011 For decades, ecologists have been studying the clearing of the rainforest and predicting disaster in the form of global warming. Consider the problems of the dust bowl era and make a prediction about the destruction of the rain forest. Support your research with facts.
Summarize The Grapes of Wrath is about the farmers in the 1930’s during the Dust Bowl era. Is this novel relevant for today? Why or why not?