The Grapes Of Wrath

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade January 2002

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The Grapes of Wrath was the sad story of the Joad family, poor sharecroppers from Oklahoma during the infamous dustbowl period of the 1930s. Year after year of disastrous weather had made for an extremely tough time for the Joad family. It was all they could do to eke out a living. Their lives completely bottomed out when the land company foreman, with little warning, evicted them from their farm. They heard that there was plenty of work in California, so with little money, or provisions, they set out to make a new life out west. When they arrived in California, they were immediately ostracized as "Okies"�. There were already too many Oklahomans out there looking for work. The locals felt like these transplants were driving down the wages and taking work that rightfully belonged to them. The Joads had no choice but to live in farm camps, where the daily wages were not even enough to feed their family.

All the time though, they kept the faith that they would get by.

The Grapes of Wrath addressed issues of respect and dignity for life. It asked the question of what responsibility business has to pay a decent wage or whether profit should be the direction of business at all cost. What struck me the most though was whose responsibility it is to make sure workers are adequately housed and fed and able to function as healthy American families.

The Joads had been enduring year after year of dusters that eventually ruined their meager livelihood. The family had farmed this land for many years; in fact, it was all the grandparents knew. Their children took over the farming and apparently no effort was ever made to improve their families' condition. Their able-bodied grandson, though portrayed as a courageous...