The novel The Grapes of Wrath is in many ways a one-of-a-kind piece of literature. This work is set up unlike any other book, written in a series of chapters and inter-chapters, which do a amazing job of informing the reader of the travels the characters in the book are going through. Not only does the story focus on the problems one family goes through, but explains the problem is happening to many more people than the story focus’s on. Steinbeck does not leave out a single detail about the Joad family and their journey to California, and that in itself is what makes his writing so entertaining. Not only is this a powerful topic to write about, but also the outstanding writing style of author John Steinbeck makes this book a masterpiece.
From the intensely vivid descriptions of the land to the true-to-the-heart portrayal of people, Steinbeck makes the words flow right off the pages. The first and most major notability of Steinbeck’s style is his lavish descriptions of almost everything he writes about. When Steinbeck writes about an unadorned field he is able to give it the brilliance that it deserves. Instead of just a few acres of dirt, Steinbeck makes the reader aware of the heart and soul of the field. In the first paragraph Steinbeck draws out the situation of the drought and hence, the dustbowl. He explains, “The rain crust broke and the dust lifted up out of the fields and drove gray plumes into the air like sluggish smoke”. In this short sentence the reader has an intense picture of this massive amount of dust blowing away.
The plot of The Grapes of Wrath is a fairly simple one. The families are moving out of states such as Oklahoma and traveling west because they can no longer make a decent living growing crops. However, if one looks past this simple plot they will find out there is much more then meets the eye. The presence of greed is located throughout the novel; an example of this is located in chapter fifteen when it goes on to explain the different ways the waitress, Mae, acts depending on the financial status of the customer. If she is tending to a truck driver, whom she knows has money, she will put on a show to lure money out of him, but if it is a traveler going down route 66 that act disappears. The message, which lies deep down in each chapter, is one that questions the greed in our ever-changing society. The greed, which is showed so easily in this novel, could represent something Steinbeck includes in his work, the idea that it is every man for himself, in a time of despair. In our society everyone wants to fit in, and many times not everyone is treated with equal respect. In essence, these people are having their freedom ripped away right in front of their eyes. Steinbeck has strong feelings on this issue and this book illustrates them to the fullest extent.
The Grapes of Wrath is a perfect example of the magnificence of Steinbeck’s writing. From the way Steinbeck describes natural settings, to the way he describes people, this style of writing is most definitely exceptional to author John Steinbeck. And to any writer, this is a style of writing that they should aspire to write.