Sample essay topic, essay writing: Grapes Of Wrath Book Report - 1404 words
The Joad family is forced to move to California because of the Oklahoma DustBowl, 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 amountto live on. As inflation rises and wages drop, a gigantic worker migration heads West insearch of Jobs. They have seen notices asking for workers in the western part of theUnited States, and travel thinking that they will find gainful employment. However there ismuch 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. TheGrapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, is the story about a family living during the days ofthe 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 andsuffering people went through in the country's darkest of times. Tom Joad, recently released from prison for a homicide, hitchhikes back home tohis fathers farm which he hasn't been to in 4 years. He tells the truck driver who giveshim a ride that he got in a fight with a guy at a dance and when he tried to brandish aknife, Tom hit him on the head with a shovel. The truck driver lets him off at his father'sfarm but he finds it abandoned. He does meet up with an old friend Jim Casy who used tobe a preacher
So Tom and Jim head down to his uncle's to locate his family. A day laterhe finds them all about to leave for California. Tom decides to accompany his family toCalifornia although it means breaking his parole. Packed tightly into a truck, they begintheir journey down Route 66, little realizing that they are part of a huge migration into anunwelcoming region of the US. The Joads encounter friends along the road, but they alsowander into adversity.
They meet the Wilsons, who drive along with them to Arizona, andvarious other Oklahoma families. This Journey is not easy though, there is much suffering to be dealt with. Tom'sgrandfather dies of a stroke at the beginning of the trip. And his dogs that he boughtalong are run over. They constantly have car problems and they face more and moredisrespect as they get closer to the California border.
The Wilson's truck dies along theway and they are all forced to stay in a small town along Route 66. They hear manystories 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 wasalways 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 bythe reality. By the time they reach the California border, it becomes clear that they will not betreated with respect by the officials or local settlers in their new state. The grandmotherdies, having been ill for sometime, before they cross into California. They are told to moveon, 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 Californiafor six months but that it has been impossible to get enough to eat. Tom's mother sits inthe tent making stew, with the children of the camp gathering around.
Tom tries to sendthem away, but she cannot refuse them food. She tells them that she does not have enoughfood to feed all of them, but she will let them scrape the pot with sticks. Floyd tells themen that there is work up north, picking fruit. They will have to travel 200 miles, and theJoads would rather not move again. They encounter a contractor who offers them a jobpicking fruit up north. Floyd asks to see the man's contract, and the contractor calls adeputy sheriff out from his car accusing Floyd of agitating the workers.
Tom and Casyknock 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 awell-established community but little work. At the Weedpatch camp, decisions are madeby committee, the women share childcare duties, and the police are not allowed to enterwithout a permit. The campers invite Tom to look for work at their site.
He meets theowner, Thomas, who tells them that the wage has been lowered from thirty to twenty-fivecents. He also warns them that there is going to be a fight at the Saturday night dance atthe camp, because the police want an excuse to infiltrate the campsite. A touring cardrives to the entrance, and the driver calls that he heard they have a riot inside. The guardtells him that there is no riot, and asks who they are. They say they are deputy sheriffs, andhe asks for a warrant.
They say they do not need one if there is a riot, and the guardresponds that there is none. The car drives away and waits nearby. However they leavewhen nothing erupts. The Joad leave only because they cannot earn a living, and drive up north on theirlast gas. They reach a peach orchard where they are given a house and told to start pickingimmediately. At night Tom wanders outside the camp and sees Casy, who has become astrike leader.
Casy is killed, and Tom responds by attacking his killer, a police officer. Thewage is cut in half, and the Joads escape, hiding Tom in the truck. The Joads find aboxcar to live in while they pick cotton. The Joads earn three dollars a day, all of thempicking cotton together, and are able to buy meat in the company store. Tom says hehas a plan for change, he wants to become a strike leader like Casy, and ensure the futuresurvival 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 babyis born, but it is blue and shriveled, never breathing once. They put it in an apple box andUncle John takes it out to a swift stream. Rose of Sharon wakes up, and her mother tellsher she can have another baby. The rain continues, and the family huddles on platforms asthe water floods the car. They decide to leave, and walk to a black barn.
Inside a boysits with his father. He tells them that his father is dying of hunger. He stole bread for himbut he could not hold it down, because he really needs soup or milk. He asks if they havemoney for milk, but the Joad family shake their heads. Rose of Sharon asks the rest of thefamily to leave.
She sits still for a moment, and then she moves over to the man and liesdown 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 desperatefor food and shelter to think about their situation to any great extent. Steinbeck focuseson the sacrifices made by people for their children and friends, emphasizing the simplicityof their lives while demonstrating their desire for respect and recognition. They are forcedinto constant migration by large land-owning companies, and it is these same companiesthat prevent them from rising above poverty. During the Depression, the entire countrywas faced with growing poverty and unemployment, and the Joads are only one of manyfamilies forced to leave their homes.
We look at the depression like it was a hard time foreveryone. 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 theOkies, because they were poor and couldn't get jobs. The people didn't realize that therewas plenty of opportunity because they were to caught up in their own finances to be ableto look past the barriers and start looking for solutions. The depression was a very hardtime, but for families like the Joads, it was harder.
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