Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I have finished out my study of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl by reading The Grapes of Wrath. Somehow, I made it through my high school years without having read anything by John Steinbeck.  Many of the other books that I read about the Great Depression era referred to this particular book and so I decided that I needed to read it.  I found the story very intriguing and Steinbeck's writing masterful.  He pulled me in and made me feel what the characters were feeling, unfortunately, the predominate feeling was despair. The story starts out in Oklahoma during the depression years and the folks there were suffering through the dust bowl - crops were bad and people were losing their farms.  The Joad family was one of those who lost their farm and then couldn't pay rent because the crops had been so bad - so they packed up and headed for California like millions of others did.  The family moves with the hope of finding work on the farms in California.  Unfortunately, those who advertised employment - overadvertised and then it became too much labor, not enough work and terrible wages.  On their journey toward California, they suffer two deaths of family members along with the family becoming splintered.The ending was particularly disturbing to me.  It is a period of history often ignored but yet an important time.  Lessons can be learned in how we ought to treat each other and the importance of family. The book made me extremely thankful that my family did not have to move because of the dust bowl.  I believe this was an important book for me to read and I would recommend it to adults, I don't think I would ask children to read it.

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