Committee Chair

Stuart, Christopher

Committee Member

Guy, Matthew; Hunter, Rik


Dept. of English


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


My thesis will explore the idea of utopia that John Steinbeck intimates through the two novels Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row, and how he crafts his utopia in concordant Marxist, social, and ecological frameworks. These two novels possess striking commentaries regarding Steinbeck’s views on social status, materialism, and freedom all in conjunction with his larger socio-ecological confines. It is in this symbiotic social interaction that Steinbeck crafts his utopia along with the physical landscape that constitutes Monterey. Written a decade apart, the two novels’ structural similarities suggest that Steinbeck maintained a consistent social vision, and that these two novels function as incubators for Steinbeck’s idea of a utopic society. Steinbeck’s romanticization of his childhood home reflects his left-leaning politics and social theories. The Salinas Valley that he creates is comparable to other utopic fabrications such as El Dorado or Milton’s Eden than the town that physically rests in California.


I would like to acknowledge Dr. Stuart who guided me throughout the arduous process of drafting, re-writing, formulating ideas, and almost giving up in frustration. His patience and guidance were instrumental in my ability to finish this project, and it is due to him that has turned out so well. I’d also like to thank my other committee members, Dr. Hunter and Dr. Guy, who were extremely amicable with me and provided a great experience for my defense. Thanks to Jay Parini for writing such a thorough biography of Steinbeck that helped spark interest and direction for my thesis, and thanks Mr. Steinbeck for writing such wonderfully influential novels.


M. A.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts.




Steinbeck, John, -- 1902-1968 -- Criticism and interpretation.


John Steinbeck; California; Marxism; Parties; Poverty

Document Type

Masters theses


vi, 64 leaves




Under copyright.