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The Great Depression In The Grapes Of Wrath By John Steinbeck

1767 words - 8 pages

The Grapes of Wrath is a realist novel that was written by John Steinbeck in the year 1939. The book has gained critical acclamation around the world to result in awards such as the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for fiction and culminated by winning the Nobel Prize in the year 1962. The book was set by the author during the Great Depression in the United States, which has been used to highlight the challenges and experiences of American people during that period. The book focuses on a family by the name the Joads and their struggle to survive in period marked by economic hardship with widespread bank foreclosures that forced a significant number of farmers in the country out of ...view middle of the document...

Together with Casy they meet a neighbor by the name Muley Graves who informs him that the family moved to Uncle John Joad's homestead that was nearby. In addition, Graves adds that the banks in their foreclosure activities evicted all tenant from their farms, but Tom declines to leave the area (Steinbeck, 1996).
The Dust Bowl destroyed all the crops in the fields resulting in massive defaults on the bank loans for the farms. Tom and Casy head up to Uncle John's homestead in a bid to find Tom’s family only to find that the family is loading the remaining possessions onto a Hudson truck. After repossession of their farms by the banks, the Joads are only in possession of hope in the form of handbills that promise good wages and employment in the state of California. Traveling to California with his family means that Tom would be contravening his parole agreement. The family invites Casy to join them in their quest to start their lives over. When they start their journey wets on the route 66, they discover that there are other families making similar journeys to California, ensnared by similar promise of high wages and numerous employment opportunities (Steinbeck, 1996).
During the trek, they meet other families coming back from California and they are forced to confront the bitter possibility that the promise of employment and a good life might just be a fallacy. The journey to California is marked by tragedy as two characters in the novel pass away, Grandma and Grandpa. In addition, other members of the family split from the group leaving the rest of the members of the family. Furthermore, they lack other options but only to proceed with their quest for a better life in California. Their arrival in California is marked by shock as it becomes that their expectations were farfetched. They realize that there is a significant surplus supply of laborers amid the lack of labor rights for workers (Steinbeck, 1996).
In addition, the big corporate farmers are at loggerheads with one another while the small farmers are experiencing collapse in prices for their commodities. However they gain hope as they find the Resettlement Administration that is a utility supplied camp. The camp was established to help immigrants settle into the country while looking for employment. It is evident that the Joad family is reduced to a family of beggars as they compete with immigrants for camp space and opportunities for employment within the factories and other businesses in the state (Steinbeck, 1996).
Tom Joad is involved in another murder as he seeks to avenge the beating of his friend Casy who traveled with him to California. The Joad family opts to leave the orchards for a cotton farm given that Tom is at a high risk of arrest for his crime and becomes a fugitive. Tom decides to flee and tells his mother that he will always fight for the oppressed wherever he opts to go. Tragedies continue to follow as Rose of Sharon gives birth to a stillborn baby. Ma remains...

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