[Tortilla Flat] by John Steinbeck Chapters 1~5 analysis(background, characters, themes)

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1. What is taking place at the time of the novel in the United States?

During this time, President T. Woodrow Wilson with the Congress declared war on Germany (which is WWI) on April 2, 1917. At this time, there was a large scale of mobilization (organization and preparation of people and resources for war). The Congress passed many acts and set up many administrations and boards in order to make sure there were enough resources for war. The Selective Service Act in 1917 required all men between 21~30 register for military service. The Liberty Loan Act in 1917 allowed US government to make loans to the Allies, so that the Allies would have money to buy US supplies. The Espionage Act in 1917 allowed the government to punish anyone who was found helping the enemy or hurting recruitment. The Food Administrations set up prices for crops and persuaded Americans to "conserve" food so that US and Allied soldiers would have enough food in Europe.

Besides the government effort, lots of minorities, including women and African-American got great opportunities for new jobs.

Source: King, David et al. The United States and Its People. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. 1993

2. Find and write down three facts about the author John Steinbeck.

He was born from German and Irish ancestry

He got Pulitzer Prize Fiction Award in 1940 for his novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

His first successful book was Tortilla flat, which received the California Commonwealth Club's Gold Medal for best novel by a California author.

Source: National Steinbeck Center. "About John Steinbeck-Biography" National Steinbeck Center. April 24, 2003.

3. Name three other books written by Steinbeck.

The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Man, East of Eden

Source: Stephan, K. "Tortilla Flat." Western Washington...