Theme Of Racism In The Grapes Of Wrath

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The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, an era where racial discrimination was far more common than today. The whites of America stood at the front of a great nation with the colored and racially diverse working class sitting beneath them facing threats and physical pain from their pale counterparts. Despite this, John Steinbeck focuses the novel on the prejudices of the white man against their own people. The police and farm owners of California react to the influx of poor workers the way many white people reacted to recently freed slaves during the 1860’s and 70’s. They see no flaw in taking advantage of them, starving them or beating them. One major theme of The Grapes of Wrath is that everyone is connected and contributes to the good of mankind. Coinciding with that idea is that one discriminatory act is identical to any other by the way they are brought to exist. Regional discrimination is among the more clear forms of prejudice present in The Grapes of Wrath, but despite this it seems to be a subconscious action. Many Californians in the novel have it out for anyone not from their home state without having spoken to any of them. Social class is another form present in the novel. The deputies of the state are willing to beat and even shoot at any “Okies” that give them a hard time. Finally, racial discrimination is a form that is not as clearly present in the novel. For comparison, the real life experiences shown in the documentary Which Way Home can be connected
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