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In: Historical Events

Submitted By bigrobs50
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The book was written in 1960.
This is the story of John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley and their road trip across America in a camper named Rocinate. The camper is named after Don Quixote’s horse. Don Quixote was the explorer that John Steinbeck was trying to be.
He was searching for the answer to the question “What are Americans like today?”
10,000 mile trip from Long Island New York to Maine to Seattle to New Orleans and back to New York.
First stop is in an orchard above his son’s boarding school.
Second stop is a farm in New Hampshire. He talks to the farmer about the Russians.
Third stop is a motel near Bangor Maine. But he hates the hotel room and stays in his camper.
Fourth stop is the lobster fishing port of Stonington. Sleeps at the beautiful home of Eleanor Brace.
Stops in Rocinate and throws a party for Canadians who cross the border to help the farmers.
Attends church at a white wooden John Knox church in Vermont and then heads west.
Heads to Chicago and his wife Elaine meets him there. On his way he camps at a small lake near the Indiana-Michigan borders.
Once he meets Elaine they go to Adlai Stevenson’s home and stay there.
Leaves Elaine and heads with Charley towards Seattle.
Stop near Fargo at a truck stop for the night after driving 400 miles.
Camps along the way in Maple River and the Badlands of North Dakota.
Heads to Yellowstone National Park where Charley goes crazy every time he sees a grizzly bear.
Makes it to Seattle and his wife joins him again.
Heads to Monterey County where he grew up. Meets with an old friend, Johnny Garcia to learn about the people who knew growing up. Says goodbye to his home town.
Starts heading east through the Mojave Desert and into Texas. His wife is from Texas and they stop for a huge dinner at a ranch.
His wife tells him about Texas and its people.
Heads to New Orleans and sees white mothers protesting against an integrated school.
Heads to Virginia and knows that he is done with this trip.
Ends up back in New York but doesn’t know where he is and has to ask for directions.
He feels like this last part is really the summary of what’s happening in America.
America is moving with no real direction. With all the changes happening, America is just as lost as Steinbeck has been on this trip.

Apply to the 50’s
People were conservative.
People were very materialistic and always wanted more and better.
There was immigration and migration that had occurred and spread people out across the country.
People weren’t very rebellious and being a rebel was not a good thing.
People are afraid to say what they are thinking for fear of being a communist.
People want to move and see things.
Integration was just beginning and the south especially was against it.
The Civil Rights Movement was strong due to Brown vs. The Board of Education decision.
The popularity of television increased.

Relate to the 50’s At his second stop he talks to a farmer about the Russians. The 1950’s was the height of the Cold War. People were terrified of the Russians. Fidel Castro took power of Cuba and formed a communist government a few miles from the United States.
The 1950’s was about wanting more. Steinbeck sees how vending machines went from being something where you go a snack to him being able to get a whole meal while he is traveling.
Steinbeck sees that women were stereotyped. They are used in advertising.
Steinbeck sees the advances in technology. There are more appliances in houses. Televisions are now colored.
People live in mobile homes. You can pick up and leave a city whenever you want.
Even though people wanted to move, they still remembered their home. The US was changing at this time but everyone remembers where we came from.
Steinbeck sees the mothers fighting segregation and realizes that he never thought about it when he was growing up with black neighbors. Southerners are afraid to change their way of life.

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