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The Grapes of Wrath

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The Grapes of Wrath I knew the Great Depression was devastating to thousands of workers but I didn't fully comprehend the ordeal the workers went through until I read The Grapes of Wrath. Not only does Steinbeck put you in the shoes of the one specific family, he provides a perspective on the rest of the migrant workers. The turtle interlude serves as a comparison and foreshadowing of the Joad family. "And over the grass at the roadside a land turtle crawled, turning aside for nothing....not really walking, but boosting and dragging his shell along" (pg 14) The movements of the turtle describe the way the Joad's family move. Ma Joad wouldn't let anyone or anything discourage her family from going to California, whether it was the death of Grampa Joad or the police trying to prevent the family from getting into California. But the family isn't really "walking" because if you're walking, you usually have a destination and have a general idea of what you are going to do once you get there. For the Joad's, they are more like wandering. They have no idea what will happen once they arrive in California and can only hope that they will be able to find jobs and live a decent live. ...read more.


The story ends with then being homeless and also jobless. My favorite background chapter was in when Steinbeck describe the bank as a "monster". "The bank-the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size."(pg 40) It is funny how people sometimes try to blame on other people or things. In this case, the owners of the land blame the bank or the "monster" as they call it, for taking away the farmers land. In a way, the owners are right. I'm sure some of the owners wouldn't want to take away the lands if they had a choice. But the way the capitalist system is setup, the bank becomes the monster in which it must eat up profits no matter the cost or else it dies. And when the bank dies, the owners and the employees of the bank become broke and homeless. Then you have this domino effect in which the next business that relies on the bank for money become broke and pretty soon, everyone is homeless. It is amazing how one flaw in our economic system can bring it down. ...read more.


But Al, who probably was quiet all the time because he was depressed by how many families he saw who were homeless and hungry and couldn't much to help them, yelled at Mae until she finally sold the bread to the man. Even when Mae offered the man the bread for free, he refused. Unlike the rich who will take advantage of anyone if they had the chance, the man had integrity and principles. Towards the end of the scene, the truck drivers leave some change that obviously showed their guilt. They feel guilty because they work for the same monsters that make the poor homeless. I think after this incident, they probably be more gracious and kind to the migrant workers. I have deeper understanding of how the workers survived or tried to survive. I also learn how one must keep hope against all odds. Ma Joad was positive and kept the family together the entire time. She didn't abandon family like Connie and Al Joad did, even stay till the end when Susan was about to drown. She made her family stay and help out Susan, who wasn't even part of the family. The final act of heroism was when Susan breast feeds a starving man on the verge of dying. It really shows how mankind can be at its brightest moment during a dark time. ...read more.

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