The Grapes of Wrath portrays life at its darkest. It is the story of migrant workers and the hardships and heartbreaks that they experience as they are driven from their land - the land that they have lived on for generations - so the banks can make a profit.
In Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, he describes the struggle of the small farmer and farmworker. The principal characters define quiet dignity and courage in their struggle to survive and in the caring for their loved ones. Through this novel, Steinbeck displays his respect for all the poor and oppressed of our world.
The abuse of power in order to make a profit is a prominent theme today in current events and throughout the novel The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Today, people in positions of power use that power to take advantage of their workers and customers in order to benefit themselves. In The Grapes of Wrath, most of the Joads’ problems stem from people using the power they have to deceive them. Economic abuse of power is not only prevalent today, but is also prevalent in The Grapes of Wrath as shown through the bank owners, salesmen, brokers, and the landowners.
The Grapes of Wrath is set in the horrible stage of our American history, the Depression. Economic, social, and historical surroundings separate the common man of America into basically the rich and poor. A basic theme is that man turns against one another in a selfish pride to only protect themselves. For example, the landowners create a system in which migrants are treated like animals and pushed along from one roadside camp to the next. They are denied decent wages and forced to turn against their fellow scramblers to simply survive.
John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, takes place during the Great Depression, a time when troubled and distressed American men and women lived; a time of poverty and an economic crisis. When change is thought upon, it is to be thought of new life and new experiences. The Great Depression is the kind of change that replaces a part of American living with “ Somepin’s happening. I went up an’ I looked, an’ the houses is all empty, an’ the lan’ is empty, an’ this whole country is empty” ( Steinbeck 94). In his work, Steinbeck presents the hardships that Americans had to go through by being mindful of particular aspects which makes the reader understand the characters’ distress. For example, the landscape of the farm lands. Even though the land has its brutality, it grows to be the scenery for humans to be able to recognize and consider their troubles about work and life in general. With these concerns, there are differences between the people who are accustomed to the landscape and admire it, and those who do not agree with it. In the novel, Steinbeck uses attributes of class conflict and injustice as a way of presenting and socially commenting that the Great Depression brought attention to more problems beyond the idea of poverty.
Much of the existing critical discussion of The Grapes of Wrath has focused on the pervasive Judeo-Christian symbolism of the work, particularly
The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, is considered by many to be the hallmark of American literature. It covers the journey of the Joad family as they stick together through one of the harshest eras in American history, the Great Depression. The structure of the Joad’s narrative is interspersed by smaller, highly descriptive interchapters, which sets the novel apart from other classics in its ability to make the reader understand and relate to the Joads and everything they went through. The detailed, impactful vignettes foreshadow problems the Joads have to overcome and the overview descriptions in the vignettes contrast with the specificities of the Joad’s story. They contain Biblical allusions, colorful descriptions, and objects that can interact with the main characters later in the narrative. Through the use of imagery and diction, the vignettes make Steinbeck’s message more impactful and meaningful.
The Grapes of Wrath offers a political dispensation characterized by the collective movement of the lower class to stand firm against their oppression by the ruling and banking elites together with the biased public policies that were simply geared towards profit maximization. It is ironical that “the public policies of land share tenancy only enriched the minority landlords but starved the majority of the poor farmers who directly contributed their efforts towards food production to death,” (pg. 117). Even though the laborers lived a life full of destitution due to their reduced state of landlessness, they were determined to soldier on and lived better lives. Led by Joad and Casy, they rose up against the oppressive landlords, and joined Unions against the demands of their masters. Through the series of successful strikes and incessant advocacy efforts of Joad, the laborers finally got some justice from the landlords at the end despite the demise of Casy.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a novel set during the mid-1930s drought and the fall of the American stock market. It depicts the plight of migrant workers throughout this time period, and follows the life of the protagonist, recently-released Oklahoma state convict, Tom Joad. He met up with former preacher Jim Casy, who renounced his ministerial calling due to his newfound belief that all life is holy, even the aspects that were categorized by others as sinful. After serving four years in prison on a manslaughter charge, Tom found Jim and together they returned to Tom’s family’s farm only to find it deserted, much like all the surrounding farms. The next day, the two men traveled to Tom’s uncle’s home, where he discovered the rest of his family packing to move to California in the hopes of finding a better life. This migration leads to death, abandonment, disappointment, and a new dream of organizing migrant workers to aid the depleted job market. The novel helped me to understand the struggle of the times, and what it means to lose everything and everyone in such a short period. Throughout these things, however grim they may seem, there is always a glimmer of hope.
Moreover, The Grapes of Wrath examines a crucial issue which is the inhumanity of man. Authorities and capitalists are presented in the novel as they seek only getting money; it is their prime necessity. On the other hand, poor people like the Joads are used and cheated out
Steinbeck's political views are quite evident within The Grapes of Wrath. The subject of much controversy, The Grapes of Wrath serves as a social protest and commentary. Steinbeck's views as expressed through the novel tie directly into the Marxist ideals on communism.
Stubborn and passionate about becoming part of the prosperous capitalist economy (which is the tone Steinbeck carries out throughout The Grapes of Wrath), they forget about humility, honesty, and selflessness. The tone, along with the repetition of the three dollars a day the aggressors earn, reflects their cold-hearted determination to risk all that ever mattered to them in order to savor the wealth. They become part of the meaningless crowd that, blinded by dollar signs, believes that affluence leads to happiness, making money their number one priority.
“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,
When Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, our country was just starting to recover from The Great Depression. The novel he wrote, though fiction, was not an uncommon tale in many lives. When this book was first published, the majority of those reading it understood where it was coming from-they had lived it. But now very few people understand the horrors of what went on in that time. The style in which Steinbeck chose to write The Grapes of Wrath helps get across the book's message.
The plot of The Grapes of Wrath is a fairly simple one. The families are moving out of states such as Oklahoma and traveling west because they can no longer make a decent living growing crops. However, if one looks past this simple plot they will find out there is much more then meets the eye. The presence of greed is located throughout the novel; an example of this is located in chapter fifteen when it goes on to explain the different ways the waitress, Mae, acts depending on the financial status of the customer. If she is tending to a truck driver, who she knows has money, she will put on a show to lure money out of him, but if it is a traveler going down route 66 that act disappears. The message, which lies deep down in each chapter, is one that questions the greed in our ever-changing society. In our society everyone wants to fit in, and many times not everyone is treated with equal respect. In essence, these people are having their freedom ripped away right in front of their eyes. Steinbeck has strong feelings on this issue and this book illustrates them to the fullest extent.