Essay about The Dust Bowl in John Steinbeck´s The Grapes of Wrath

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John Steinbeck’s acclaimed novel, The Grapes of Wrath, embodies his generation’s horrific tragedy. John Steinbeck’s writing gives insight on the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl on thousands of families and those who helped them. While Steinbeck's novel focuses on the Joad's family journey, he also includes writing of the general struggle of many families at the time. In John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, the usage of the term “Okies” degrades the workers, while the personification of the cars help depict the struggle of the journey, to exemplify the adaptation the migrant workers had to make to survive the new life. Throughout the novel, Steinbeck separates the demographic of people with steady jobs and income from the…show more content…
Along with this, the lack of jobs and the despair the families face alter their behavior, showing the raw survival instinct within. For the first time, the men who hired the Okies “saw the eyes of the hungry... [and] the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants” (Steinbeck 282). As the time progresses, the families left their old ways behind, stripping them of their morals and their identity. The unity among friends and family were lost. Instead, families became a pack of hungry wolves, hunting for jobs. Objectifying a whole group of people dehumanizes them, making the migrant workers seem like animals risking everything to stay alive. It strips the people of their past, their morals, and the importance of a human being. While the families become dehumanized, Steinbeck personifies the cars to mirror the change of the community. The usage of personification to describe the cars deepens the exhaustion and fear of the people who cross the country to California. As the families travel on the Highway 66, the caravan of cars “[limp] along 66 like wounded things, panting and struggling” with the weight of the Okies’ complications (Steinbeck 122). The cars sympathize with the migrant workers weariness during the long journey. Like many of the workers, the cars struggle to overcome obstacles, both figuratively and literally. Each time it faces an overwhelming
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