A Contrast of Humanity in Suffering and Exploitation: The Grapes of Wrath

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Of all the injustices that are bestowed upon mankind, none are greater than the ones inflicted by our own species of apathy towards poverty and the hardships of our brothers. Steinbeck gives a view of human frailties and strengths from many different perspectives in “The Grapes of Wrath.” This book demonstrates how people can overcome destitution, team up to find solutions, and provide protection and security in times of trouble. Steinbeck introduces people who are hard working and honest, that reach out selflessly with compassion towards others. However, not everyone reacts to austerity and oppression in the same way. Large groups of people can cause suspicion to outsiders. Ignorant people can be paralyzed by an incomprehensible …show more content…
In this short description, many human emotions are presented: anger, cruelty, indifference, apathy, and compassion.

The story follows the Joad family who lose their tenant farm due to a severe dust storm in Oklahoma, and their experiences during the trek to California and the hardships encountered on the way. Before leaving on their trip, the Joads must sell all of their farm implements and reduce their belongings because they need money for travel and survival. Steinbeck gives us many portrayals of exploitation of the downtrodden migrant. In this instance, the car dealers take advantage of the people who need to leave and have to buy a car to get to California. Capitalism at its worst is portrayed when these unscrupulous dealers do a bait and switch move, where they show a car for sale but never sell it. “Today’s bargain—up on the platform. Never sell it. Makes them come in though.” The dealer talks about how they will take advantage of people and sell them “lemons.”(62)
However, the car dealers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the powerless tenant farmers making a mass exodus for California. Men, dressed in fancy cloths come to town specifically to buy up farm equipment and offer far less than what it is worth. “And the men in the seat were tired and angry and