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Who Gets What And Why Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

Over the last ten weeks, this course covered quite a bit of material related to "who gets what and why." Many authors, including God himself, have tried to explain why certain men get all the "cargo" and others do not. John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath, was written in 1939 and published in the United States. Karl Marx's and Frederick Engel's underground political commentary, The Communist Manifesto, was written in Brussels1848 in published in England. At first glance these two books didn't seem to have much in common but after applying them to the topic covered in this course, these two literary pieces were similar. They both wanted to reveal the bitter conflict between the powerful and powerless and the vicious exploitation that the working class was exposed to. Steinbeck, with a fictitious tale of ordinary people striving to preserve their humanity while confronting economic and social hopelessness, and Marx and Engels with a manifesto of how capitalism impacts and degrades all aspects of human existence, raised very persuasive cases of man and his treatment of those socially and economically below him."The Grapes of Wrath" is essentially a portrayal of the bitter conflict between those who hold power and the underclass who are powerless. It is primarily a story of one family's fierce battle with injustice and the strength they show throughout this battle. This book is considered a classic in American literature not just because is portrays the horrors of the Great Depression but also because it shows the very nature of inequality and injustice in America. These social ills are not confined to just certain eras of American or even world history. These things are realistic in 1939 and in 2003. The story illustrates the depth of poverty and exploitation that some people are exposed to. The realism displayed in this novel is still relevant today. Its depiction of ordinary people traveling far away from their homes to hopefully fulfill a dream and the injustices they must endure is both authentic and enduring. Steinbeck's well told story hits all aspects of the human experience and communicates a social commentary that goes beyond the 1930's. Today, Americans buy sneakers for $100 made by children in foreign countries earning pennies a day. Low paid workers stuck in sweat shops, some even in America, sew clothing for retailers that make billions of dollars in profits each year. The social problems exposed in The Grapes of Wrath are certainly pertinent to contemporary life today with greed being the driving force. Unlike The Communist Manifesto, this book is not asking for political action, but rather a request for people to make a social commitment for compassion and justice. The message that Steinbeck hoped to convey was timeless. Economic and social exploitation create conditions that are universal. The poor are trapped in a world of exploitation, unfairness and injustice. Although the journey of the Joad's is a tale of fiction, Steinbeck's...

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