what sort of lifestyle did he live.
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Steinbeck grew up in Salinas, California (sound familiar) where he acquired a great love of land and environment. He chose to be a writer early on but dropped in and out of college, working on ranches in between. During this time, he worked alongside migrant workers, developed friendships and was made aware of the treatment they received and the isolation of their lifestyles. These relationships and observations were the foundation for his labor trilogy (In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath).
Steinbeck's life was low key. He became a wealthy man but lived modestly, and he abhored displays of wealth. He was well traveled, but contrary to popular belief was NEVER a communist (he made three trips to Russia and despised Soviet repression of individual rights). In fact, in later life he accused of conservatism.
Steinbeck was a man's man; he believed that the friendships of men were based on love and loyalty. This is evident when you read his novels.
"...there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love."