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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is the harrowing tale of the Joads, an Oklahoma farm family during the Great Depression. In 1940, John Steinback won the Pulitzer Prize for his work of fiction, and he rightly deserved this honorable prize. Steinback, after deciding to write about migrant farm workers who were pushed out of their homes in the Dust Bowl, lived with an Oklahoma farm family and journeyed with them to California. Interwoven with the story of the Joads are short, expository chapters describing migrants. These descriptive chapters that are interspersed with chapters about the Joads and often foreshadow tragedy; often discussing a certain hardship facing the migrants at large that the Joads then encounter. As I was reading the novel, I came to look forward to these brief intermissions that were rich in description and insight into the migrant life. The introduction to one such chapter (chapter 12) is the perfect example of the masterful writing of Steinback:
[Highway] 66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership, from the desert's slow northward invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas, from the floods that bring no richness to the land and steal what little richness is there. From all of these the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.
A theme that emerged throughout the novel is the mistreatment of migrant workers; the poor conditions in which they are forced to live and work in. While this is the story of America during the 1930s, it can very realistically be applied to America today. Most migrant workers nowadays are illegal immigrants, yet farm owners should not deny them basic rights. Tom Joad, the protagonist the novel, epitomizes the struggle that migrant workers undergo on a daily basis: focusing on one's own immediate needs or risking one's safety by fighting for the common good. In conclusion, The Grapes of Wrath rightfully deserves its #10 spot on Modern Library's Choices (a list that I hope to complete one day). Rating:★★★★★

Digital Fortress

The Submission