The Grapes Of Wrath : The Great Depression

1748 WordsApr 7, 20177 Pages
Jamie LoConte Mrs. Viscosi AP Lang. Per. 4 5 April 2017 The Grapes of Wrath: The Great Depression “Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, and emerges ahead of his accomplishments” (Steinbeck). The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a classic book read by millions in high school due to its simple prose, clear symbolism, and its heartwarming story of perseverance against the odds. However, this novel is far more than a heart-tugging story, but is actually a historically correct interpretation of the Great Depression of the 1930’s in the United States. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath’s plot and characters reflect the Great Depression environmentally,…show more content…
When families like the Joads began on their treacherous journey to California, along with the thousands of other families, they were not socially accepted or taken care of along the way. Farmers traveling were given the derogatory nickname of “Okies”, stereotyping that they all came from Oklahoma (Schleeter). Everyone disliked Okies, especially those in California, and when they arrived they were stuck living in cardboard boxes in filthy camps (Schleeter). These squalid camps of thousands were called “Hoovervilles”, and the Joad family spent a fair amount of time in one (Marchand). Steinbeck depicted the horror these camps so fantastically, that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt called to reform laws governing migrant camps (Schleeter). Those in poverty could only rely on one another, Ma Joad describes this beautifully in saying,” If you’re in trouble go to the poor people. They’re the only one who will help” (Steinbeck). The camps were often burned, and when the Joad’s burned, they managed to get into a government-funded, self-managed camp (Marchand). Steinbeck structured the plot of his story to move from one family, to many families, to the human experience, in order to speak for the social issues of the masses (Schleeter). He also had effect of speaking for thousands who are suffering with the same prejudices as the Joad family by speaking in third-person plural to turn
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