Preliminary Discussion Before Reading the Novel
Pre-Reading Survey Question:
Write the following question on the board and have the students write down their thoughts. Explain that this is not a test. There is no right or wrong answer. It is for discussion purposes later. Collect the responses, but indicate that they are confidential and will not be read by anyone. They will be saved and returned after the novel is read.
Do you feel cheated, that somewhere, somehow, persons less deserving than you are reaping rewards disproportionate to their own merit?
Brief Bio of John Steinbeck:
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr., was born on February 27, 1902. He attended Stanford University at Palo Alto, but never graduated. In 1927, he sold a short story, The Gifts of Iban (a fable), to The Smoker's Companion under a pen name, John Stern. He was paid $15.00. In 1928, he sold a more comprehensive piece, Cup of Gold for $250.00. His career spanned forty years before his death in 1968.
(If you wish to give the students more indepth information on the author, see the reference section below.)