John Steinbeck Google Doodle
On February 27th 2014, the Google doodle team paid tribute to the literary achievements of American novelist John Steinbeck.
The John Steinbeck Google Doodle celebrated what would have been his 112th birthday. The interactive doodle was comprised of six sections, five of which were the titles of some of his best known work, accompanied by a related image and the sixth was a play button. The Google logo appeared in plain black font over the six sections of the John Steinbeck Google Doodle.
When users pressed play on the interactive John Steinbeck Google Doodle, which can still be viewed by clicking here, they were met by an image depicting an American landscape with a man stood in the foreground of the image. The image utilised modernist styles and made use of the colours blue, white and black. It paid tribute to Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath”, users were able to slide across the image and were greeted with two poignant quotes from the novel. The second quote read as follows, “In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage,”
Following the Grapes of Wrath section of the John Steinbeck Google Doodle, the next stage paid tribute to “Cannery Row”. The imagery featured men sat waiting outside a doctor’s practice, a sunrise and an urban landscape reflected through a puddle in a pavement. Again two quotes accompanied the imagery, including “It is the hour of the pearl- the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.”
The next section of the interactive John Steinbeck Google Doodle celebrated Steinbeck’s most famous novel, “Of Mice and Men”. The imagery used featured rural fields, with men harvesting crops. The final image featured rabbits, a tribute to the tales heroes and their ill-fated dream of owning a farm. It was accompanied by the quote, “They looked at one another, amazed. This thing they had never really believed in was coming true.”
The forth section of the John Steinbeck Google Doodle was dedicated to Steinbeck’s novel, “The Pearl”. The three accompanying images featured a seacoast which had a clam bearing a shell in the foreground, a submerged diver and an entrance arch. These images were again accompanied by two quotes, including, “Whole pieces of it came clearly and softly into the song of the undersea.”
In the final section of the John Steinbeck Google Doodle, which was dedicated to the novel “Travels With Charlie In Search Of America”, there were only two accompanying images. The final section of the doodle featured the quote, “We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.” Viewers of the John Steinbeck Google Doodle were then provided with a search button and a share button.
John Ernst Steinbeck Jnr, was born on February 27th 1902. Throughout his incredibly productive working life he authored twenty seven books. Of his books, 16 were novels, six were non-fiction and the remaining five were collections of short stories. His contributions to literature were recognised in 1962 when he was rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature. He received the award due to his “realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception.”
He was born in Salinas, California and his family was of German, Irish and English descent. His father, also named John Ernst Steinbeck, served as the treasurer for Monterey County. Whilst his mother, Olive Hamilton, worked as a school teacher. The family lived in a small town, which was little more than a frontier settlement. However the surrounding land was some of the world’s most fertile. Due to this there were a large number of farms and ranches in the surrounding area. The young Steinbeck spent his early summers working on these local ranches. It was here that he came into contact with migrant workers, becoming aware of the hard life these workers faced and was also educated on the darker sides of human nature. This experience provided him with the material which he would use to create his novel, Of Mice and Men.
Following his education at Salinas High School in 1919, Steinbeck gained a place at Stanford University. He spent five years at the university and left without gaining a degree. After leaving Stanford University he went to New York and took odd jobs whilst attempting to write. In 1928 after failing to have his early writings published he returned to California, where he worked as a tour guide and a caretaker.
However Steinbeck was to gain success with his writing the following year, when his first novel “Cup of Gold” was published. Following the publication, Steinbeck wrote three shorter novels in the years 1931-1933. These were “The Pastures of Heaven”, published in 1932, “The Red Pony”, published in 1933 and “To a God Unknown”. Steinbeck was only to achieve critical success for his writing in 1935 with the publication of “Tortilla Flat”. The novel was adapted into a film which had the same name in 1942.
During the next phase of his literary writings, Steinbeck embarked on what became known as his series of “California Novels”. Typically the novels in this series followed the lives of common people during the Great Depression. The California Novels include, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and “In Dubious Battle”. The New York Times celebrated The Grapes of Wrath as the bestselling novel of 1939, by February of 1940, 400,000 copies had been printed.
His sustained creativity and writing talent was rewarded in 1962 with the Nobel Prize for Literature. During his acceptance speech Steinbeck stated, “the writer is dedicated to declare and celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness and heart of spirit- for gallantry in defeat, for courage, compassion and love. In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally flags of hope and of emulation.”
Steinbeck died aged 66 on December 20th 1968, his death was attributed to congestive heart failure and heart disease. His body was cremated and according to his wishes, buried at the Hamilton family grave-site in Salinas. His parents and maternal grandparents were also buried at the same site, as was his third wife, who died in 2004.
John Steinbeck is not the only great author to have received a tribute to his life’s accomplishments with the John Steinbeck Google Doodle for his 112th birthday. Other authors include, Mark Twain, HG Wells, Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen.