The Instigator
Senatus
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
Writer-Menz
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Is John Steinbeck a better author than George R.R. Martin

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Senatus
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2014 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 962 times Debate No: 44896
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

Senatus

Pro

This debate puts John Steinbeck, classic American author of landmark literary works such as The Grapes of Wrath, up against British author of the Game of Thrones series, which has led to the popular HBO sensation.

Ground Rules;
1. Focus on the issue; no insulting other person unnecessarily
2. Don't copy other people's work; giver proper credit
3. No trolling

Time to start with the arguments.

Arguments:
Steinbeck was a classic author; he wrote about the realistic struggles and triumphs of the American people. George R.R. Martin has more of an escapist style. Steinbeck did not need to glorify life to make an amazing story; his tales are deep and meaningful. Reading them makes you feel the sorrows of the people, and what it really means to be an American. George R.R. Martin's tales may have the politics and intrigues of life, but not the realistic struggle.

Steinbeck also used simplicity; while many tales have told tales about knights and kingdoms, or about great fantasies, Steinbeck could find beauty in small things. In Tequila Flat, the characters have an amazing friendship, something that could not be found in Game of Thrones.

My third and final argument for this round is that Steinbeck could make a literature not burdened down by the cheap market of television. Martin's works lost value when they were produced at the whims of the HBO producers, a network well known for their explicit content, which has attracted people to watch Game of Thrones. Steinbeck kept his many works to novel formats, and although there have been movies of his books, those have not lessened the value on the same scale as HBO has. Steinbeck's works are still as important as they were in the Depression, but Martin's works are cheapened by the show.

I await your arguments.
Writer-Menz

Con

First off, I agree that John Steinbeck has had a lot more time for his books to develop a greater audience: John Steinbeck's first novel, Cup of Gold, was written in 1929, and George Martin's first published writing was 1986, a 57 year difference, which is a large time for the book community. However, having famous literary works doesn't necessarily mean that the book is written better, which is what this entire argument is about.

Secondly, before starting an argument, [Pro] should have all all their facts solid. George RR Martin was born in New Jersey to American parents, and has lived in the United States his whole life. Also, quite surprisingly, as I saw [Pro] reading "Tortilla Flat" by John Steinbeck earlier, and in his argument, he mentions "Tequila Flat," a strong point that [Pro] hasn't really developed a valid argument.

When [Pro] stated that Steinbeck's writing gave readers the feeling of realistic struggles and sorrows, his reasoning was that A Song of Ice and Fire (the actual title of the series, not "Game of Thrones, as [Pro] put it) is set in a fictional fantasy world that could never actually happen to anyone we know. However, the struggles and sorrows that the characters experience are things that normal people experience. Many of the main characters experience deaths among their family, as almost every other person that has lived has also experienced.

In A Song of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin has made it a point to show that every political move in his writing has hints of friendship, something [Pro] so clearly denied. Yes, there are knights and kingdoms in A Song of Ice and Fire, but they are not "Pretty Princess" fantasies, he paints an incredibly harsh picture of what life was like during what would have the parallel time period to us (14-1600's). George RR Martin has definitely made the "little things" beautiful, the detail in his setting description is some of the most detailed I've ever seen, and all of the sub-plots among the major plots have their own kinds of beauty, side romances, little excursions, they all add the eloquent amalgam of character narrations written by George RR Martin.

Finally, though I don't see why this should have ever been necessary, is that having a major television network turn your novels into one of the most watched shows ever on TV isn't something to cheapen a series, it is an amazing addition. George RR Martin never wrote his novels for the intent of having them turned into a television series, the first book, Game of Thrones, came out in 1996, and it's corresponding premier date on HBO was 2011. There is nothing that can be said about the gratuity of the television series, as they have toned it down from the books, and there have been more viewers lost from the sex and violence than there have been gained.

I dare you to do better.
Debate Round No. 1
Senatus

Pro

I would like to start by saying that [Con's] point that John Steinbeck is not necessarily better than Martin because of the difference in time periods; that was never my point. I was merely setting up the debate. If you are trying to say that Martin's book are inferior because of the time difference, please keep in mind that I was not making that point and that you misinterpreted me.

Rebuttals:

The mere fact that I made a small typo does not mean that I have an unformed argument. You admitted ("Also, quite surprisingly, as I saw [Pro] reading "Tortilla Flat" by John Steinbeck earlier"), that you know that I am currently reading it, so you cannot say that I do not know what I am talking about. True, it was a mistake, but I do not necessarily have an unformed opinion.

When you say that Martin's fantasy world is completely human, I ask you this: What could be more human than the story of many Americans during the great depression? This is part of our history, that we must remember. When our country put hard-working farmers out of their own houses, we must remember this. When soldiers, fresh out of the army, go back to the streets of the cities, I ask you, what could be more real? Certainly not A Song of Ice and Fire. It is not even set in our world! John Steinbeck's characters feel human, because they have gone through the hardships of humanity. Can I say the same of Martin's works? Their struggles may be similar to ours, but they were not the same. This so called "parallel universe" is not our own. John Steinbeck's certainly is. His characters and plots are our own world's, and they are superior to those of A Song of Ice and Fire.

When you say that Martin's works were not cheapened by the television works, I respond by saying that introducing anything into a second media does. Readers are always upset when the screen changes their characters, and A Game of Thrones had various changes. Do reader's prefer the screen enough to want changes to their beloved books? Is A Song of Ice and Fire so easily surpassed by television?

Arguments

John Steinbeck's novels are superior to those of George R.R. Martin because of another reason: they have Steinbeck's unique voice. In Tortilla Flat, the character's were drunks, but Steinbeck could portray them as a kind of hero. George R.R. Martin, while being a skilled writer, cannot do that.

John Steinbeck's great style also has long descriptions, which add a lot. He describes the landscapes, the people, or anything else, giving the reader a vivid picture in their mind. The worlds are clear, and with the seemingly real characters, this makes Steinbeck's books very good.

Lastly, I want to say that although Martin's books have positive aspects, they don't have the soulful depth of Steinbeck's. Everything has meaning. When you finish one of Steinbeck's books, it is thought-provoking. The message could be something as simple as kindness and compassion are valuable. There is always a message that Steinbeck ties in.

I have refrained from saying anything as aggressive as "I dare you to do better", because I believe that that does detract from the value of the debate.
Writer-Menz

Con

Writer-Menz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Senatus

Pro

No rebuttals because of your forfeit.

Shall we make round 4 for rebuttals and summary of argument only? Please answer in next argument. Probably should have set that up anyway.

Arguments:
John Steinbeck was a pioneer. Authors before him would not take the time to write about something as unimportant as the paisinos of the Southwest, who were considered drunks. John Steinbeck could look beyond this, and see the friendship and the deep bond that the friends had. Once again, Martin could not do that.

Steinbeck also was a master of writing shorter books. Although he could, on occasion, write long books (East of Eden), he wrote short books that were easy for people to get through. He didn't need to drag his story on to make it popular. Martin's books were dragged into long series. It is much easier for a reader to stop reading a 1000 page book than a 150 page book. John Steinbeck could say everything he needed in less than 300 pages.

I am interested in you response.
Writer-Menz

Con

Writer-Menz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Senatus

Pro

Time for the last round of this debate. Thank you to my opponent for participating in the first round. I understand that you probably had time restraints, and I look forward to this round.

Arguments:

John Steinbeck was a classic author. His messages still apply today. If they didn't, we wouldn't care now. Martin still has to prove that his books can stand the test of time. We can't know this now, of course. Could a book set in a fantasy world survive? Well, one would be quick to point out that the Lord of the Rings has survived, and therefore A Song of Ice and Fire will also. However, let's look at the statistics. A Song of Ice and Fire has sold approx. 15 million copies [1]. It has also been out for 23 years. Fifteen over 23 year equals about 652 thousand copies per year. This is worldwide. Lord of the Rings has about 150 million copies over 60 years[2]. One-hundred fifty over 60 equals 2.5 million copies per year. This is even without inflating the statistics because of the changes in population. Game of Thrones just doesn't stand up to other popular books. John Steinbeck's books have stood the test of time, but Game of Thrones doesn't look like it will last forever.

Since my opponent has not responded, I will make this the last argument of the debate. Thanks again for your participation in the debate.


Sources:
[1]https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]https://en.wikipedia.org...
Writer-Menz

Con

Writer-Menz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by kxu65 3 years ago
kxu65
George R.R. Martin first off is not a British author, he was born in New Jersey, and lives now in New Mexico. Second he started writing I think since the early 70s, and his first published works go all the way back to 1976.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
SenatusWriter-MenzTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Full Forfeit by Con, I don't count the first round as that is essentially acceptance. Oh and Steinbeck is clearly a better author, but that is personal opinion.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 3 years ago
Krazzy_Player
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
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Reasons for voting decision: F.