Michael Ray De Los Angeles.
♛ email: MichaelRay@LoraxCommunity.org
Los Angeles, CA, 2015
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
A fictional narrative set during the depression era, Steinbeck’s novel the Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family as they venture away from the dust storms in Oklahoma to sunny California. The tone of the text is one that is sympathetic towards the plight of the migrating family, painting both the Joads as well as other migrants as humble people who want nothing more than the ability to work. As a piece of fiction the novel provides a window through which one can see the rise of industrial agriculture within America. A large focus of the novel revolves around the changing practices regarding the cultivation and harvesting of produce.
Throughout the novel Steinbeck utilizes elements of the developing American road culture to tell the story of the Joad family. Steinbeck draws attention to things such as cars, campsites, roadside diners and even service stations, the effect is that the reader is provided with a wider scope of reference through which he/she may examine the depression era. The window that Steinbeck provides also allows the reader to see the ecological turmoil that prompted the mass migration of Oklahomans and other Americans. One of the pitfalls of the novel is the suppression of nonhuman nature. Steinbeck presents the dust as thing that is separate from the people, a thing which imposes itself onto the land and causes death. Thus the concept of the dust acting as a element responding to ecological stress, caused by farming practices, is not examined.