John Steinbeck 's The Grapes Of Wrath

1414 Words Apr 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
• John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939) contains anticapitalistic sentiments which force the reader to question whether capitalism is responsible for the death of the American Dream, even questioning if that dream in fact exists. To explore this further, this essay will examine a number of John Steinbeck’s works in addition to the primary text. To gain a better understanding of a capitalist society, the essay will focus on how society was affected by the economy, industrialisation, and Karl Marx’s capitalist theory (1867).
• The original meaning of the American dream was to encourage Americans and migrants to work within a society for the common good. Wright’s standpoint on the American dream is that the phrase – originated from
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Refugees migrated to California in the hope of finding work and the vast majority worked for large corporate-owned farms, that were more modernised in the crops and machinery they produced. The workers were paid a low wage, and were forced to pay a large portion of it for accommodation as well as food.
• With the influx of migrants, it was easy for the big corporations to use workers for cheap labour, they were more desperate and could be paid pittance. ‘Maybe he needs two hunderd men, so he talks to five hunderd, an’ they tell other folks, an’ when you get to the place, they’s a thousan’ men. This here fella says, “I’m payin’ twenty cents an hour.” An’ maybe half a the men walk off. But they’s still five hunderd that’s so goddamn hungry they’ll work for nothin’ but biscuits. Well, this here fella’s got a contract to pick them peaches or — chop that cotton. You see now? The more fella’s he can get, less he’s gonna pay. An’ he’ll get a fella with kids if he can.’ Steinbeck exposes the excessive exploitation of the workers and their families, the vulnerable and needy workers were more attractive to the owners, and would be willing to work for less to feed their loved ones. Some would work just for food and a place to sleep.

• Marx 's primary objection to the capitalistic system was that it was grossly unfair to the worker. To illustrate this, he developed his now famous theory of "surplus values." The theory involves the intricate
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