Giving a book like the Grapes of Wrath to a 15 year old serves largely to put them off fine literature for the rest of their lives. A book like the Grapes of Wrath should be required reading - for every American over 30.
If you are an American you need to read The Grapes of Wrath. Some guys with a lot of cash came along and bought up all the struggling family farms and leased the land back to the former family farmers and when they couldnt produce, the new Owners kicked the families out of their homes. From California came hand bills, pamphlets promising jobs and urging the homeless to drag their whole lives via barely moving junk heaps to the golden state where grapes grew in bunches by the side of the road. They were called Okies and shitheals and were looked down upon. The people with money would ask, as if being poor was a choice. The owners sent out more handbills then they needed to. Because the more men begging for a job the less the owners would have to pay them. And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. We need to sit down, shut up, and stop asking questions because he, being a rich bastard, is an owner and we should know our place. Pray God some day kind people wont all be poor.
Noi siamo esseri umani, e siamo destinati a combattere il sopruso con l'insurrezione."Sconfortante sarebbe notare che l'Umanità rinuncia a soffrire e morire per un'idea; perchè è questa la qualità fondamentale che è alla base dell'Umanità, questa la prerogativa che distingue l'uomo dalle altre creature dell'universo"E allora Tom, uno dei protagonisti dell'esodo biblico della famiglia Joad, con la sua incapacità a tollerare le angherie che subiscono i suoi cari, diventa il simbolo e l'incarnazione dell'essere umano di John Steinbeck.
I'm thinking of the descriptions of the natural world like that wonderful chapter about the turtle, who eventually gets scooped up by Tom. You see the world through the turtle's eyes for a moment and you see how the indifference of the characters to nature is a larger phenomenon that leads to their own ruin. There's another, similar type of moral breakdown at work in the wonderful passage about the car dealers talking about how to rip people off. Thus, the Joads are eventually forced to leave the government camp in search of work. Suffice it to say that the harrowing ordeals don't end there, nor the emphasis on simple human kindness as the antidote to the capitalist machine. Simple human kindness becomes, by the end, the mother's milk that can sustain them, but only barely and uncertainly, and we're left with the indelible portrait of people trying to survive, unsure how it might turn out.
farmers lost their homes and land to the banks incapable to repay their loans , (no crops no money) symbolized by the Joad family of Oklahoma in the 1930's . Where a hungry large group of people, travel to the promise land of California a distant 1,500 miles away but find more starvation, abuse and death. In an old dilapidated automobile the Joad's , Ma the de facto leader and Pa, Tom, just released from prison for killing a man in self defense ( it didn't help that both were drunk) .
Imagine having nowhere to go, but still crossing the desert in hope of finding a future after your past was wiped out by human failure, greed and environmental carelessness? Steinbeck is one of those authors that I love unconditionally, more and more with each reading experience. Just recalling the voices of the characters makes me shiver - as they suffer through the ordeal of fleeing from the Dust Bowl, that environmental catastrophe caused by greed and paid for by individual families, to a Californian paradise which doesn't welcome newcomers. Family saga, social study, historical document, political standpoint, ethical statement on compassion and greed - it is all there, but invisible under the masterfully crafted story, which has its own quality, beyond the message on the essential needs and worries of poor, common people without protective networks.
Those poor, dirty Joads. After being displaced from their Oklahoma farm following the Dust Bowl storms that wreck their crops and cause them to default on their loans, the Joads find themselves a family of migrants in search of work and food. Only once they arrive, they discover that there is nothing prosperous about itnot only is there a serious shortage of work (mostly caused by an overabundance of labor that came with the influx of so many other migrant families), but they also have to contend with growing anti-migrant sentiment among the local population and wealthy landowners who think nothing of taking advantage of them in their state of vulnerability. Without proper labor laws protecting workers rights and no trade unions to represent their interests, the Joads are severely underpaid for whatever work they do manage to find, and they simply fall deeper and deeper into despondency.
Most of the 4 and 5 star ratings came from those who read it as adults. At one point in the story, Ma tol' Rosasharn that it ain't all about her (most high school kids think everything is all about them, which is probably one reason they couldn't enjoy this book or most other classics they are forced to read). I wasn't disappointed in the lack of closure at the end, because the closure came in the middle when Ma said, "Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out.
He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories. Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films, and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.