Type of Culminating Activity
Thesis - Boise State University Access Only
Master of Arts in English, Literature
Thomas Hillard, Ph.D.
This thesis uses theories of the pastoral to examine John Steinbeck’s early novel To a God Unknown. In addition to close textual analysis, this thesis researches Steinbeck’s outside influences while writing the novel and argues that naturalist Ed Ricketts and mythologist Joseph Campbell played a strong role in developing Steinbeck’s thematic interest in mythology and ecology.
With a new understanding of Steinbeck’s influences and his use of the pastoral, this thesis closely examines the character of Juanito as a figure who unites both ecology and mythology in the novel. Through a close reading of the interaction between Joseph Wayne and Juanito, the thesis demonstrates both the direct influence of Ricketts and Campbell on Steinbeck, and Steinbeck’s own environmental philosophy at work in the novel.
Packard, Danielle, "To a Landscape Unknown: The Mythology and Ecology of Land in John Steinbeck’s To A God Unknown" (2010). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. Paper 210.