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Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1962

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What does Steinbeck say he wants to take the time to consider?
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the high duties and the responsibilities of the maker’s of literature
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Why does he wish to “roar like a lion”?
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He feels impelled to be proud in his profession
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From what did literature grow?
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Literature grew out of human needs
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How does literature serve human needs?
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Functions duties, responsibilities, develop understanding and resolution of fear
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Steinbeck refers to the writer William Faulkner. According to Faulkner, what is the only worthy topic about which to write?
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The human heart in conflict with itself
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What is the ancient commission of the writer?
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Charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, dredging up to the purpose of movement
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What are a writer’s responsibilities?
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To declare and celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit
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What did Alfred Nobel perfect?
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The release of explosive forces
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What is the explosive force about which Steinbeck speaks?
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Choices ungoverned by conscience or judgment; capable of creative good or of destructive evil
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How is Nobel’s thinking indicated in the award?
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Nobel strove to invent a control/safe valve, only in the human mind and spirit; offered for increased and continuing knowledge of man and world
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What does Steinbeck feel we have usurped?
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We have usurped many of the powers we once ascribed to God
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What does he say that man is?
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Man is our greatest hazard and our only hope
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The final sentence is a Biblical allusion to the Gospel of John(1:1). In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” How does Steinbeck’s definition of man fit into this?
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“In the end is the Word, and the Word is Man – and the Word is with Men”