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The Grapes of Wrath.

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Ami Smith Mr. McKelvie Semester 2 US History 21 July 2003 The Grapes of Wrath The Grapes of Wrath was directed in 1940 by John Ford and was based on the book of the same title written by famous California author John Steinbeck. During the Great Depression, many farmers worked on the Southern Great Plains of the United States planting wheat. Parts of the Great Plains had a severe drought, which killed their wheat plants and vicious dust storms turned the sky black and were called the Sandstorms. These conditions caused farmers to be unable to make their mortgage payments. As a result, the land was taken from the farmers to pay off the debts owed to the bank, leaving many homeless and without money. This movie follows the story of the Joad family, migrant "Okie" farmers from Oklahoma traveling to California in search of work and money. The film opens at an empty highway in Oklahoma and a figure appears from the distance and asks a truck driver for a lift. Along the ride the hitch-hiker, Tom Joad, reveals that he has been in jail for the past four years but will not state why. He satisfies the curiosity of the truck driver as he leaves the cab of the truck finishing his story with his conviction: homicide. ...read more.


The Joads drive further and cross the state border to Arizona and are stopped before they cross the desert and warned that it is dangerous to go through the desert in "such a jalopy like that." They still continue with the adult's hopes of making it to California, the children fantasizing on finding the bones of those trying to cross the desert in failed attempts and grandma delirious and nearly dead. At another stop, officers ask them to empty the truck to check if they have taken any fruit to cross the border. Ma convinces the officers to let them pass because grandma is sick and near death- but no one but Ma knows that grandma is already dead at that time. The next scene opens with the family pushing the truck up a hill to bring the family to a scenic overlook, where they gasp at the beauty of the valley. Ma then breaks the new that grandma passed away that night before they were stopped. The family arrives at their temporary home, Hooverville Migrant Camp, but leave due to a threat of the camp being burned down. On a stop to fix a flat tire, a man informs the Joads that there is work at the Keene Fruit Ranch and the family immediately agrees to the job, however there is a huge crowd outside the ranch and the family does not know why. ...read more.


The next day the family goes on a search for "twenty day work" near Fresno and Ma and Pa have a conversation and their future and fear. After the loss of her stillborn baby, their daughter, Rosasharn offers her maternal breast, filled with milk, to be suckled by a starving man in a railroad car. The films final shot shows a line of truck and cars moving along through the countryside. After seeing this movie, I grew more aware of the hardship of those searching for work. I always knew that it was a difficult time especially with the Depression going on, but I was never aware that so many people faced such difficulty and so many people died in pursuing the dream to even set foot on California's soil. To see that even five cents was valued so highly was also amazing since it won't even pay tax at the present day. Also I was unaware that people were being checked at the border of states, I thought that was something that only happened on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. It is sad to think of the cruelty that the families faced and even the police, whose job was to enforce the law with justice, were corrupt and evil. So many people worked hard everyday but were walked on and treated even worse than dirt. ...read more.

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