He was 58 years old in and nearing the end of his career, but he felt that when he was writing about America and its people he "was writing of something [he] did not know about, and it seemed to [him] that in a so-called writer this is criminal" p. He bought a new GMC pickup truck, which he named Rocinante, and had it fitted with a custom camper-shell for his journey. He planned on leaving after Labor Day from his summer home in Sag Harbor on the eastern end of Long Islandbut his trip was delayed about two weeks due to Hurricane Donnawhich made a direct hit on Long Island.
Summary[ edit ] RocinanteSteinbeck's camper truck which he used to travel across the United States innow at the National Steinbeck CenterSalinas, CA Part One[ edit ] Steinbeck opened the book by describing his lifelong wanderlust and his preparations to rediscover the country he felt he had lost touch with after living in New York City and traveling in Europe for 20 years.
He was 58 years old in and nearing the end of his career, but he felt that when he was writing about America and its people he "was writing of something [he] did not know about, and it seemed to [him] that in a so-called writer this is criminal" p.
He bought a new GMC pickup truck, which he named Rocinante, and had it fitted with a custom camper-shell for his journey. At the last minute he decided to take along his wife's year-old French Poodle Charley, with whom he has many mental conversations as a device for exploring his thoughts.
He planned on leaving after Labor Day from his summer home in Sag Harbor on the eastern end of Long Islandbut his trip was delayed about two weeks due to Hurricane Donnawhich made a direct hit on Long Island. Steinbeck's exploits in saving his boat during the middle of the hurricane, which he details, foreshadow his fearless, or even reckless, state of mind and his courage in undertaking a long, arduous and ambitious cross-country road trip by himself.
Navy submarine base at New London where many of the new nuclear submarines were stationed. He talked to a sailor stationed on a sub who enjoyed being on them because "they offer all kinds of — future".
Steinbeck credited uncertainty about the future to rapid technological and political changes. He mentioned the wastefulness of American cities and society and lamented the large amount of waste that resulted from everything being "packaged.
The two concluded that a combination of fear and uncertainty about the future limited their discussion of the coming election between Richard Nixon and John F. Steinbeck enjoyed learning about people by eating breakfast in roadside restaurants and listening to morning radio programs, though he noted that, "If ' Teen-Age Angel ' [sic] is top of the list in Maine, it is the top of the list in Montana" 35showing the ubiquity of pop culture brought on by Top 40 radio and mass media technologies.
He drove north into Maine. On the way he noted a similarity among the "summer" stores, which were all closed for the winter.
Antique shops sold old "junk" that Steinbeck would have bought if he thought he had room for it, noting that he had more junk at home than most stores.
He stopped at a little restaurant just outside the town of Bangor where he learned that other people's sour attitudes about life can greatly affect your own attitude. Steinbeck then went to Deer Isle, Maineto visit the friend of his literary agent Elizabeth Otis, who vacationed there each summer.
Otis always raved about Deer Isle, but could never describe exactly what it was that was so captivating. While driving to Deer Isle, Steinbeck stopped and asked for directions.
He later learned from a native that it wasn't wise to ask for directions in Maine because locals don't like to talk to tourists and tend to give them incorrect information. When Steinbeck arrived at the house on Deer Isle where he was supposed to stay, he met a terse female cat named George and ate the best lobster he had ever tasted, fresh from the local waters.
Next, he drove to northern Maine, when he spent the night in a field alongside a group of French-speaking migrant potato pickers from Canada, with whom he shared some French vintage.
Steinbeck's descriptions of the workers was sympathetic and even romanticized, a clear nod to his amazing description of "The Grapes of Wrath," which made him famous. At the Canadian border in Niagara Falls he decided not to cut across southern Ontario to get to Detroit faster, as he planned, because Charley didn't have the proper inoculations to get back in the USA.
After his encounter with American border officials, he discussed his dislike of the government.
He said the government makes a person feel small because it doesn't matter what you say, if it's not on paper and certified by an official, the government doesn't care.
As he traveled on, he described how wherever he went people's attitudes and beliefs changed. All states differ by how people may talk to one another or treat other people. For example, as he drove into the Midwest there was a marked increase in the population from state to state.
The roads, specifically U. Also, everywhere he went, people's views changed. For example, when he was in New England he saw that people there spoke tersely and usually waited for the newcomer to come up to him and initiate conversation.
However, in Midwestern cities, people were more outgoing and were willing to come right up to him. He explained how strangers talked freely without caution as a sense of longing for something new and being somewhere other than the place they were.
They were so used to their everyday life that when someone new came to town, they were eager to explore new information and imagine new places. It was as if a new change had entered their life every time someone from out of town came into their state. Traveling further, Steinbeck discovered that technology was advancing so quickly as to give Americans more and more instant gratification, whether it was soup from vending machines or mobile homes.
Steinbeck was intrigued by mobile homes. He thought they showed a new way of living for America, reflecting the attitude that if you don't like a given place, you should be able to pick up and leave. He reflects on rootedness, finds much to admire both ways, going and staying, and finds a secret language and camaraderie among truckers.Because he's feeling pretty out of touch with his own country—and he's considered a great American author and all that—John Steinbeck decides to take a road trip around the U.S.
to check it out and get a sense of where Americans and their hometowns are at in By John Steinbeck had been publishing best sellers for three decades, with classic titles in his canon including Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, The Grapes of Wrath, and Cannery Row.
With ’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America, Steinbeck came as close as . From the publisher: "Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography.
Because he's feeling pretty out of touch with his own country—and he's considered a great American author and all that—John Steinbeck decides to take a road trip around the U.S. to check it out and get a sense of where Americans and their hometowns are at in Gwyn Conger, his second wife, was the mother of his sons Thom and John.
In he met his third wife, Elaine. Steinbeck and Elaine, who were very bonded, remained together for the rest of his life, spending most of their time in New York and Sag Harbor. The ‘Travels With Charley’ Timeline — Day Monday, Oct.
10, – Chicago. As his wife Elaine flies back to New York, John Steinbeck and Charley set out from Chicago in Rocinante, bound for Seattle by way of .