The Grapes Of Wrath By John Steinbeck And The Grapes Of Wrath

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The novels “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck and “Under the Feet of Jesus” by Helena Maria Viramontes both explore the plight of migrant farmers in California. Steinbeck tells the story of white migrant workers during the Great Depression and Viramontes tells the story of Mexican migrant workers. The novels deconstruct the perceived California dream in which great wealth can be achieved through hard work by recounting the plights of migrant workers who recognize the illusion and take action against it. Steinbeck’s novel portrays the plight of the Joad family, natives of Oklahoma. The Joads, a family of dispossessed farmers, travel to California searching for work after the forces of large-scale banking capitalism remove them from their land. They chase the promise of a new beginning and the opportunity to find wealth because of the California dream. Steinbeck narrates the journey of an underclass family achieving the Marxist construction of class-consciousness. Class conflict between wage “slaves” and the owners of the means of production, social alienation through the separation of labor and profit, and dehumanization of workers through the mass commodification of labor all appear in the novel. Class-consciousness defines the novel and is the method by which the Joad family is able to rise against the bourgeois and capitalism. The Joads are a member of the proletariat and must work as laborers who are, according to Karl Marx, “A class of labourers, who live only

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