Monday, August 24, 2009
Last night I finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Somehow I missed getting assigned this in school, but I think it's for the better. If I had read this when I was a teenager, I don't think I would have liked it at all, and I don't think I would have appreciated the beauty of Steinbeck's writing.
In these tough times that we're living through right now, reading about the tougher times makes me a lot more appreciative about what I have. His thoughts on the banks and the "evil" corporations still ring true decades later, and he really coveys the feelings of hopelessness that these people felt.
The only downfall to not reading this in a classroom setting is the ending. Although, it was poignant, I was still left with the feeling that there should have been more...and maybe in a classroom setting, someone could have explained (or at least helped me understand) why he chose that place to end it and not go on any further.
Set during the Great Depression, it traces the migration of an Oklahoma Dust Bowl family to California and their subsequent hardships as migrant farm workers. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940. The work did much to publicize the injustices of migrant labor. The narrative, interrupted by prose-poem interludes, chronicles the struggles of the Joad family's life on a failing Oklahoma farm, their difficult journey to California, and their disillusionment once they arrive there and fall prey to a parasitic economic system. The insularity of the Joads--Ma's obsession with family togetherness, son Tom's self-centeredness, and daughter Rose of Sharon's materialism--ultimately gives way to a sense of universal community.