Praises Of Glory To Burning The Book: The Uproar Caused By The Grapes Of Wrath

2850 words - 11 pages

Binkley 1Robin BinkleyMatt FoxENG-112K10 September 2012Praises of Glory to Burning the Book: The Uproar Caused by The Grapes of WrathWritten in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath follows the movement of thousands of Midwestern people and the alteration of our country during the Dust Bowl migration from the Midwest to California; it also details the story of the Joad family that joins the migration to California in hopes of a better life. Steinbeck faced many criticisms for his portrayal of the landowners of California, the banks of Oklahoma and his vivid descriptions of the treatment of the immigrant worker and families; however the novel is one of the utmost respected and studied works of social literature of the twentieth century. Although met with strong criticism and condemnation from California and Oklahoma, Steinbeck successfully captured the social and historical climate of 1930's migration and settlement camps.Oklahoma and California citizens and government were enraged at the bleak picture that Steinbeck's book told of the two states and both states condemned the book as well as asking professors to find inaccuracy in the book, but none could be found and the book could not be refuted (Shockley 352). Despite the mayhem of people finding the book too severe on the decent residents of California and Oklahoma, the fictional Joad family faced obstacles that were factual and lived by many in both places (Thompson 178). Part of its impact was from its passionate portrayal of the predicament of the poor. As Ma Joad made a meager breakfast for her clan they were surrounded by children, fifteen of them stood silently and watched. Children from the camps were starving and parents could find no work. (Steinbeck 253) Even colleagues of Steinbeck criticized his social and political views. The fiercest attacks came from the Associated Farmers of California denouncing the book as all lies and branded it 'communist propaganda'. It is said that Steinbeck exaggerated the camp conditions for his own political agenda while others say that he downplayed the horrible conditions. In history books and other books written about the same time period, it shows that Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, a work of fiction, showed that Steinbeck did not misrepresent the situations that immigrants from the Dust Bowl family faced when they reached California during the years of the Great Depression (Thompson 173). Once in California, there was no work and they used the abundance of workers to control what wages they did pay. The promise of a land of abundance was a myth used to get cheap labor and to exploit the fact that tenant farmers were being pushed off the land they had been on for years. Steinbeck shows in this passage how California dealt with the city of tents that the migrant workers lived in, "this ain't no lan' of milk an' honey like the preachers say. They's a mean thing here. The folks here is scared of us people comin' west; an' so they got cops out tryin' to scare...

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