The Steinbeck 's The Grapes Of Wrath

1489 Words6 Pages
The 1930’s era was an incredibly tumultuous time for the United States. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Dust Bowl exacerbated the already high tensions between the rich and the poor. These tensions were also present and becoming a growing problem within the justice system of this era. As the country plunged into the depths of the Depression, the poor treatment of men and women imprisoned within the country’s jails deteriorated as well. The Dust Bowl along with the economic conditions the country, at the time led to the disparate treatment of prisoners at this time. Prejudices against certain groups of people during this time were very strong. This prejudice was demonstrated in John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath, especially…show more content…
This was the reason for much of the migration from the west to other parts of the country during this time. After the booming of the economy in the 1920s, no one was expecting this sort of deficit in the economy just a mere ten years later. After World War I, the agricultural industry started to decline and left many families still living on farms with little pay to sustain comfortable lives (Boone 2). The government was now further focused on creating more modernized jobs for the rapidly developing industries, and left the farmers behind in the dust. Many farmers soon fell into debt when they could no longer make as much money to support themselves and their families. The fact that farmers had very low wages along with the physical deterioration of the west sometimes caused people to make desperate decisions, which would often land them in jail. The conditions many prisoners faced while incarcerated during the 1930s was extremely poor. Police officers were very discriminatory towards the lower class of people within both within the jail systems as well as on the outside. Overcrowding in the prisons also became a problem during this period. “Rates increased somewhat from 1880 up to 1910, were stable between 1910 and 1923, and then increased greatly during the Depression up to 1940” (Department of Justice). With overcrowded jails, the conditions and treatment of the prisoners started to deteriorate. Prison guards often ignored the
Open Document