issue 40: January - February 2004 


John Steinbeck 1902 - 1968

Novelist, essayist, short-story writer, journalist, war correspondent, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1961 . . . this issue’s quiz is on one of America’s major literary figures of the 20th century.

I have written a good many stories and I still don’t know how to go about it except to write it and take my chances.
John Steinbeck

The prize has been won but feel free to have a go and then see the answers


1. As a young boy, Steinbeck used to explore the area around his hometown of Salinas, California in the company of ...
a. his pony Jill
b. his German shepard Jack
c. his girlfriend Lucy
d. his uncle Toby
e. all of the above

2. Steinbeck's traveling companion on his trip around the United States in a three-quarter-ton pickup with a little cabin-like house attached was...
a. a Siamese cat
b. a Scotch terrier
cannery rowc. a French poodle
d. an Irish nephew

3. The marine biologist Doc in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday was based on one of Steinbeck’s best friends to whom he paid tribute in a moving piece after the man’s death. Steinbeck wrote that nothing could have killed the man except what did. He was ...
a. run over by a steam roller
b. hit by a train
c. crushed by a boulder
d. shot by a woman

4. Steinbeck attempted three times "to write a novel that could be played from the lines, or a play that could be read." The biggest success of these "play-novelettes" got off to a rough start when the first draft was...
a. accidentally thrown in the trash
b. blown away by the wind
c. eaten by a puppy
d. shredded by his young son

5. A man Steinbeck greatly admired once wrote an autobiographical novel, with a forward by Steinbeck, under the name of Windsor Drake. The author’s real name was...
a. Ernie Pyle
b. Ed Ricketts
c. Harry Guggenheim
d. Tom Collins

sweet thursday6. Salinas Valley was the working title of which novel?
a. The Grapes of Wrath
b. In Dubious Battle
c. To A God Unknown
d. East of Eden

7. In the early collection of interrelated stories The Pastures of Heaven, this character ends up in an asylum for the criminally insane...
a. Junius Maltby
b. Tularecito
c. Guiermo Lopez
d. Molly Morgan

8. Galiban, apart from being the name of a Salinas mountain range, is the name of ..
a. a red pony
b. an iron-gray gelding
c. a bay mare
d. a shepard dog with one ear

9.The novel in which a grocery-store clerk turns on his boss also finds him slyly tricking ...
a. his elderly father
b. his brother-in-law
c. an old friend
d. a new man in town

10. In this early novel the protagonist comes to believe that his father’s spirit in embodied in...
a. the wind
b. the sea
c. a mountain
d. a tree

11. Cain and Abel / Cal and

12. "The nature of parties has been imperfectly studied. It is, however, generally understood that a party has a pathology, that it is a kind of an individual and that it is likely to be a very perverse individual. And it is also generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it was intended or planned."
a. The Moon is Down
b. Tortilla Flat
c. Cannery Row
d. Sweet Thursday

13. It could have been any of these paisanos, but this one burned down a whorehouse...
a. Joe Portagee
b. Jesus Maria
c. Pilon
d. Pablo Sanchez
e. Pirate

14. Lennie screwed up and this man wanted "to shoot the guts outa that big bastard"...
a. Candy
b. Curley
c. Slim
d. Carlson

15. Finding the pearl began the downward spiral, but it all started when Coyolito...
a. was stung by a scorpion
b. was bitten by a rattlesnake
c. was attacked by a dog
d. got gangrene from a scratch

16. "Comrades! He didn’t want nothing for himself ______."
a. Pa Joad
b. Harry Nilson
c. Casy
d. Jim Nolan

17. Which actor very much wanted to play the lead in Pipe Dream - a Rogers and Hammerstein musical of Sweet Thursday, adapted for stage by Steinbeck - and even took singing lessons for a year for the audition, but was turned down?
a. Anthony Quinn
b. Frederick Marsh
c. Henry Fonda
d. Montgomery Cliff

18. Steinbeck’s best known screenplay stars Marlon Brando playing the role of...
a. Emiliano Zapata
b. Rafael Trujillo
c. Fulgencio Batista
d. Cesar Chavez

19. Which one of the following actors does not appear in a Steinbeck film adaptation?dubious battle
a. James Dean
b. Rock Hudson
c. Henry Fonda
d. Joan Collins
e. John Carradine
f. Robert Mitchum
g. Debra Winger
h. John Malkovich
i. Nick Nolte
j. Sherilyn Fenn
k. Richard Harris

20. Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
      Or decent job or a helpin' hand
     Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
     Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me.
Who is the songwriter and which Steinbeck character is he voicing?

Some Steinbeck web sites of interest:
John Steinbeck: The California Novels
Center for Steinbeck Studies

© TBR 2004

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issue 40: January - February 2004  

Short Fiction

Mary Woronov: George and Shoe Store
Leelila Strogov: Fatso
Simmone Howell: Golden
Connla Stokes: The Splurgy Shore
picks from back issues
Lynn Coady: Jesus Christ, Murdeena
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez: Buried in Shit
and Stars and Losers


Manuel Vázquez Montalbán: 1939 – 2003
The man and his work
Two reviews
: An Olympic Death
and The Buenos Aires Quintet


Ilan Stavans


John Steinbeck
answers to last issue’s 18th-Century English Literature

Readers' Poll

Readers’ Poll Results - Best/Worst of 2003

Book Reviews

Demonized and The Devil in Me by Christopher Fowler
The Epicure’s Lament by Kate Christensen
Blind Love by Mary Woronov
Lizard Dreaming of Birds by John Gist
Dreamland by Newton Thornburg

Regular Features

Book Reviews (all issues)
TBR Archives (authors listed alphabetically)

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