Interestingly, the video of that day opens with Allen Ginsberg reading the words of Kerouac,
Once I went to a movie at midnight – 1940 – ‘Mice and Men,’ the name of it…”
That movie, of course, was made from the novel of John Steinbeck, “Of Mice and Men.”
Like Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan was no stranger to the writings of Steinbeck. In fact, he wrote a 22-page essay on John Steinbeck in 1958 when he was in the 11th grade. The folk music scene that was about to explode with the dawn of the 1960s would be characterized by lyrics sympathetic to the common men and women that shone so brightly from the ink of Steinbeck’s pen. Steinbeck’s influence on the songs of Bob Dylan is apparent when you read Dylan’s High School essay:
You see Steinbeck’s characters in everyday life, but who stops to sympathize with them? Everybody, in one-way or another, is one of John Steinbeck’s characters. We all need sympathizing.”
That paper received only a “B.” But we can assume that when 11th grade English teacher “Mr. Rolfzen” assigned that grade, he had no idea what the future would hold for young Bobby, or what significance the contents of the paper he held in his hands would have on the future of music and American culture.