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John Steinbeck and Mexico. By Bill Wolfe, Wasco Union High School English 11-C 90\% Hispanic, 33\% LEP, 10\% RSP Of Mice and Men , Jan.-Feb. 1998. CSU Bakersfield. Introduction--Background. Did you know Steinbeck was fluent in Spanish?

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john steinbeck and mexico
John Steinbeck and Mexico
  • By Bill Wolfe, Wasco Union High School
  • English 11-C
  • 90% Hispanic, 33% LEP, 10% RSP
  • Of Mice and Men, Jan.-Feb. 1998

CSU Bakersfield

introduction background
Introduction--Background
  • Did you know Steinbeck was fluent in Spanish?
  • He first visited Mexico in the early 1930’s and fell in love with the country and its wonderful people.
  • This presentation will tell you all about Steinbeck’s experiences in, and writings about, Mexico and her people.
steinbeck un hombre muy simpatico
Steinbeck: Un Hombre Muy Simpatico
  • He was deeply affected by the similarities between the poor and working class in Mexico and the U.S. (esp. in California)
  • He was a passionate supporter of labor unions and despised (hated) growers, big companies, and management types.
  • He vigorously opposed exploitation of agricultural workers.
steinbeck s fascination with emiliano zapata
Steinbeck’s Fascination With Emiliano Zapata
  • Zapata led Indian revolutionaries in the south of Mexico against the corrupt government of President Diaz.
  • Better known is Pancho Villa, who led the revolutionaries in the north, and who fought U.S. soldiers on occasion.
  • Steinbeck lived in Mexico in the late 1930’s while doing research on Zapata.
steinbeck sails the sea of cortez
Steinbeck Sails the Sea of Cortez
  • Following the massive success (and controversy) of The Grapes of Wrath in 1939-1940, he fled to Baja California for peace and quiet.
  • He and his wife joined his best friend, Ed “Doc” Ricketts, a marine biologist, in exploring and documenting this isolated but beautiful area.
steinbeck sails the sea of cortez6
Steinbeck Sails the Sea of Cortez
  • They also spent a lot of time eating, drinking, and partying in La Paz during their several weeks south of the border.
  • Steinbeck kept a journal which he later expanded into a book, Travels in the Sea of Cortez.
  • Several years later, The Log From the Sea of Cortez was published.
making movies in mexico
Making Movies in Mexico!
  • The Pearl was filmed in Mexico and starred the great Mexican actor Pedro Armendariz in the role of Kino.
  • It was the first movie filmed in Mexico to be widely distributed in the U.S., largely because of Steinbeck’s popularity and influence.
making movies in mexico8
Making Movies in Mexico!
  • Steinbeck wanted Armendariz to star in “Viva Zapata!” but the movie studio insisted on an American actor; Marlon Brando got the role instead.
  • Steinbeck was nominated for best story and best screenplay Oscars.
making movies in mexico9
Making Movies in Mexico!
  • Marlon Brando was nominated for a best actor Oscar.
  • Anthony Quinn (who is half-Mexican) was nominated for and won an Oscar as best supporting actor, playing Zapata’s brother.
  • “Viva Zapata!” was very popular with the public and is one of the four classic movies from 1952.
the forgotten village
“The Forgotten Village”
  • Steinbeck returned to Mexico in 1940 to write a movie script about a village that resisted the efforts of doctors to prevent epidemic diseases.
  • It became “The Forgotten Village.”
  • It is available as a “picture” book with movie stills and a simple narrative.
steinbeck s love of spanish
Steinbeck’s Love of Spanish
  • Steinbeck returned to Mexico yet again in the summer of 1948 and in January 1949 to work on the Zapata screenplay.
  • He told his publisher, “I need the country and the language in my eyes and ears” in order to write the screenplay for “Viva Zapata!”
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