"The Grapes of Wrath"

Essay by foosballfuzzHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2006

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"The Grapes of Wrath" is considered to be one of the greatest American Classics, and for good reason. It is the tale of the Joad family and their struggle in search of a new life in the Great Depression California after being evicted from their farm along with hundreds of thousands of other farmers just like them. Taking place in one of the saddest eras of American history, author John Steinbeck holds little back in portraying the harshness of the time. Families desperately trying to make ends meet and hold on to property some of their families have had for hundreds of years. All this before they even set out on the road to an even harsher California. As the Depression grew worse banks started to collect on loans given out to farmers the previous years. Farmers though, had little to pay them with as the prices of their crops sank more and more every year made worse by the deteriorating condition of the land.

With little alternative banks began to foreclose property after property selling it to large landowners who could make a profit on the land. Steinbeck, communist, takes this opportunity to criticize capitalism for its weaknesses and portrays banks literally as monsters living or dying on the profit margin. The Joad family was a victim of the monster and with little choice and promises of opportunity to the west, they set out for California with everything they have left. The trip west is a long one and a test for the Joad family. While Ma desperately tries to keep the family together, the family suffers its first tragedies with the death of both grandma and grandpa. Their deaths come almost as a symbol for the passing of the old way of life, never to return. Along the...