John Steinbeck

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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Humanity's Conflicts In 1962 John Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize. In his acceptance speech Steinbeck offers some advice to novice writers about the conflict that must be present in a novel or story to make it truly meaningful. He speaks of man's greatness and of his ability to continually fight weakness and despair.

According to Steinbeck, a writer must "celebrate man's proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit" if he wants his story to be entertaining to the mind as well as the spirit. By "man's proven capacity for greatness"¦" I believe Steinbeck is trying to explain how human beings have the uncanny ability to persevere over nearly any obstacle, and after it is over the people involved will be closer together because they have suffered and triumphed together.

Through man's constant struggles and victories many mistakes will be made, but through these mistakes is how people learn best.

So, each mistake is a menial loss compared to the knowledge gained in the long run. In his speech Steinbeck also said that a writer must "believe in the perfectibility of man." By this I think Steinbeck means that no matter what man will be improved over time, either by doing things well the first time and continuing to do it the same way or by messing up and being driven to succeed to prove to himself that he can do it.

Being able to learn form previous mistakes is one of humanity's most valuable qualities, but the sheer diversity of man is the most awe inspiring of mankind's traits. I think that is Steinbeck's main point in speaking of man's greatness and ability to survive. Steinbeck intends to let young writers see the power of writing about moral conflicts of man. Conflicts of the spirit and of morals are the eternal conflicts because they are the struggles of life itself.

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