The Grapes of Wrath
This paper interprets John Steinbeck’s themes in The Grapes of Wrath, about the inhumanity of man, the unity of the migrants, and the power of wrath as well as a historical outlook during this time period in relation to the novel. Steinbeck’s overall goal emphasizes the need for cooperation and human value to find a solution to the social problems during The Great Depression. Ideally, in the novel's plan, Steinbeck leads people to realize their place in the larger human family.
As the Joad’s are driven out of their homes, Steinbeck suggests that the hardships the families face occur from not just the harsh weather conditions or misfortune but from the bank-the monster as well. Rather than allowing small farms and tenant farmers the right to exist, the banks promoted competition, mechanization, land consolidation, and continual expansion. In result, the tennent families began migrating to California, The Promised Land, because they were told this was the land of opportunity and many jobs. Along the way of the migration, the Joad’s are faced with many hardships, their dog is hit by a car, granma and granpa die and they are taken advantage of. The people who survive the hazardous passage to California are now faced with the the large corporations in control of California’s agriculture, using the rapidly growing number of migrants to force the harvest wages down. The oakies are forced to being landless, homeless, and starved. The police and vigilantes were against the oakies in fear that they may work together and form a riot, and consequently any oakies who complained or acted suspicious were arrested.
The novel’s comment on the crooked car salesmen and pawnbrokers illustrates the theme of inhumanity of man. Over and over those in a position of power seek to take advantage of those below them. Later, in the novel the greedy California landowners fear relinquishing their land to the needy oakies. Even though giving up a portion of their...