To understand the context [context: The social, political and historical circumstances surrounding a text. ] of John Steinbeck's book, you need to know a bit about Steinbeck himself, and a little about economic conditions in 1930's America.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California in 1902. Although his family was wealthy, he was interested in the lives of the farm labourers and spent time working with them. He used his experiences as material for his writing.
He wrote a number of novels about poor people who worked on the land and dreamed of a better life, including The Grapes of Wrath, which is the heart-rending story of a family's struggle to escape the dust bowl of the West to reach California. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel PrizeNobel Prize: The prizes for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Peace, Literature and Economics are named after Alfred Nobel, a Swede, who left money and instructions for this in his will. for Literature in 1962, six years before his death in 1968.