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Grapes Of Wrath Book Report

The Joad family is forced to move to California because of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, which has made it impossible for them to earn a livelihood through farming. Drought and depression has made it impossible for farmers to grow a substantial amount to live on. As inflation rises and wages drop, a gigantic worker migration heads West in search of Jobs. They have seen notices asking for workers in the western part of the United States, and travel thinking that they will find gainful employment. However there is much to learn about the United States in its economic turmoil.

During the depression, thousands of people looked for work, and were cheated every step of the way. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, is the story about a family living during the days of the depression and what they did to survive. Many families were hurt by the depression, so Steinbeck wrote of a typical family with detail that makes you understand the pain and suffering people went through in the country’s darkest of times. Tom Joad, recently released from prison for a homicide, hitchhikes back home to his fathers farm which he hasn’t been to in 4 years.

He tells the truck driver who gives him a ride that he got in a fight with a guy at a dance and when he tried to brandish a knife, Tom hit him on the head with a shovel. The truck driver lets him off at his father’s farm but he finds it abandoned. He does meet up with an old friend Jim Casy who used to be a preacher. So Tom and Jim head down to his uncle’s to locate his family. A day later he finds them all about to leave for California. Tom decides to accompany his family to California although it means breaking his parole.

Packed tightly into a truck, they begin heir journey down Route 66, little realizing that they are part of a huge migration into an unwelcoming region of the US. The Joads encounter friends along the road, but they also wander into adversity. They meet the Wilsons, who drive along with them to Arizona, and various other Oklahoma families. This Journey is not easy though, there is much suffering to be dealt with. Tom’s grandfather dies of a stroke at the beginning of the trip. And his dogs that he bought along are run over.

They constantly have car problems and they face more and more disrespect as they get closer to the California border. The Wilson’s truck dies along the way and they are all forced to stay in a small town along Route 66. They hear many stories from other migratory workers about how they lost their land to the depression. Whether it was increased rent by corrupt landowners or a typical drought, the result was always the same, families would have to move away in search of new jobs. However, everyone was so caught up in the hopeful prosperity of new land that they were blinded by the reality.

By the time they reach the California border, it becomes clear that they will not be reated with respect by the officials or local settlers in their new state. The grandmother dies, having been ill for sometime, before they cross into California. They are told to move on, and camp out near Hooverville, in a settlement of migrant farmers outside the town. They meet a man named Floyd Knowles who tells the Joads that he has been in California for six months but that it has been impossible to get enough to eat. Tom’s mother sits in the tent making stew, with the children of the camp gathering around.

Tom tries to send them away, but she cannot refuse them food. She tells them that she does not have enough food to feed all of them, but she will let them scrape the pot with sticks. Floyd tells the men that there is work up north, picking fruit. They will have to travel 200 miles, and the Joads would rather not move again. They encounter a contractor who offers them a job picking fruit up north. Floyd asks to see the man’s contract, and the contractor calls a deputy sheriff out from his car accusing Floyd of agitating the workers.

Tom and Casy knock the deputy unconscious. Later Casy is taken to jail and the camp is torched for “red” in influences. The family moves on to a government camp, where they find running water and a well-established community but little work. At the Weedpatch camp, decisions are made by committee, the women share childcare duties, and the police are not allowed to enter without a permit. The campers invite Tom to look for work at their site. He meets the owner, Thomas, who tells them that the wage has been lowered from thirty to twenty-five cents.

He also warns them that there is going to be a fight at the Saturday night dance at the camp, because the police want an excuse to infiltrate the campsite. A touring car drives to the entrance, and the driver calls that he heard they have a riot inside. The guard tells him that there is no riot, and asks who they are. They say they are deputy sheriffs, and he asks for a warrant. They say they do not need one if there is a riot, and the guard responds that there is none. The car drives away and waits nearby. However they leave when nothing erupts. The Joad leave only because they cannot earn a living, and drive up north on their last gas.

They reach a peach orchard where they are given a house and told to start picking mmediately. At night Tom wanders outside the camp and sees Casy, who has become a strike leader. Casy is killed, and Tom responds by attacking his killer, a police officer. The wage is cut in half, and the Joads escape, hiding Tom in the truck. The Joads find a boxcar to live in while they pick cotton. The Joads earn three dollars a day, all of them picking cotton together, and are able to buy meat in the company store. Tom says he has a plan for change, he wants to become a strike leader like Casy, and ensure the future survival of the migrant workers.

It begins to rain, and the people are left with no shelter. There is no work, and sickness comes to the farmers. The Joads stay in their boxcar. Rose of Sharon, Tom’s sister, is sick, and she goes into early labor. Before long the baby is born, but it is blue and shriveled, never breathing once. They put it in an apple box and Uncle John takes it out to a swift stream. Rose of Sharon wakes up, and her mother tells her she can have another baby. The rain continues, and the family huddles on platforms as the water floods the car. They decide to leave, and walk to a black barn.

Inside a boy sits with his father. He tells them that his father is dying of hunger. He stole bread for him but he could not hold it down, because he really needs soup or milk. He asks if they have money for milk, but the Joad family shake their heads. Rose of Sharon asks the rest of the family to leave. She sits still for a moment, and then she moves over to the man and lies down beside him. He shakes his head but she leans over and bares her breast, telling him “You got to. ” This final act creates life from death, and symbolizes renewal, solidarity, and rebirth.

The family cannot fight against the system that enslaves them, to desperate for food and shelter to think about their situation to any great extent. Steinbeck focuses on the sacrifices made by people for their children and friends, emphasizing the simplicity of their lives while demonstrating their desire for respect and recognition. They are forced into constant migration by large land-owning companies, and it is these same companies that prevent them from rising above poverty. During the Depression, the entire country was faced with growing poverty and unemployment, and the Joads are only one of many amilies forced to leave their homes.

We look at the depression like it was a hard time for everyone. And at such a time, we should stand together and solve our problems. Systematically, society has performed its usual segregation of scapegoats, in this case the Okies, because they were poor and couldn’t get jobs. The people didn’t realize that there was plenty of opportunity because they were to caught up in their own finances to be able to look past the barriers and start looking for solutions. The depression was a very hard time, but for families like the Joads, it was harder.

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