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Political Agenda in The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is a movie that was originally a novel by John Steinbeck that exposes the desperate conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930’s live. The movie tells of one family that migrates west to California through the great economic depression of the 1930’s. The Joad family had to abandon their home and their livelihoods. They had to uproot and set adrift because tractors were rapidly industrializing their farms along with the erosion of topsoil to create “the Dust Bowl”.

The bank took possession of their land because the wners could not pay off their loan. The movie shows how the Joad family deals with moving to California, how they survive the cruelty of the landowners that take advantage of them, their poverty and willingness to work. The government, and political figures also abuse their powers to maintain such a lack of balance of power between the workers and businessmen, and yet some branches of the government protect the workers. During the Dust Bowl, hundreds of thousands of southerners faced many hardships, which is the basis of the movie.

John Steinbeck wrote this iction novel to portray the harsh conditions during the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl occurred in the mid-west part of America, especially in Oklahoma. Such people in Oklahoma who lost their jobs from the Depression and eventually the Dust Bowl were called “Okies. ” The mistreatment of the “Okies” in The Grapes of Wrath can be concluded as being valid. During the Red Scare, Americans mistrusted other Americans, especially certain government organizations.

When one man was telling the “Okie” group that the pay and jobs are minimal in California, an aristocratic or government fficial accused the person of being a communist. This represents the hate of the communists in the view of the government. In The Grapes of Wrath, the Californians wanted to rid the “dirty” Okies from California because they were afraid of them. They were afraid that the Okie would take their land. Even the California police beat them for no just reason because they wanted the Okies to leave the state. The police, shown as corrupted thugs, killed Casey because he was “agitating” the public.

Certain government organizations were aware of the harsh living and pay onditions that was upon the Joad family, and yet they tried to suppress it. However, not all departments were inherently “evil. ” The department of Agriculture was represented as a “good” department. A jolly man who was similar to FDR, the president at the time, represented the leader of the camp in which the Joad family lived in. The camp had extremely good facilities and uninfluenced by the “corrupt” police officers that were on the side of profit more than protecting the people.

Roosevelt, in the views of Steinbeck and the producers of the movie, was a good man who ttempted to clean up the huge Depression “mess” by helping the workers get jobs in government-funded projects. The dialog between Tom and the camp-leader, suggested that more camps like this should have been built. Essentially the movie/book is saying that the political agenda should have been a more government fueled one. Instead of letting the “law” handle it, one should have created more projects for the people to work on. This way, the workers won’t have to think that a dead man is more valuable than a live one.

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