The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (10/10)

In the Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck weaves together hope, pain, and family into this classic novel set in the Great Depression. The Joad family struggles their way across the United States from Oklahoma to California in search of picking fruit or a similar well-paying job. They, along with thousands of other families, were tractored off of their land and home, and were forced to leave, and were given orange handbills telling about the supposed need for work in the West. Throughout the journey, all of the desperate travelers are quick to help one another, and realize that their interdependence is the only way that they will make it all the way to California. Many family members were lost along the way, through devastating experiences as the trip was tough and few had positive experiences for quite a while. Eventually, Tom Joad and his entire family that was left made it to California, yet still struggled there to find steady work and support to feed themselves. Hope was hard to come by in these times, and only because it was often found pointless when there was no way they had anything to find positive.

Steinbeck chose to add an entirely narrated chapter every other chapter, which was one particularly interstjng attribute about this book. Each was about an event or setting during this time period and was full of brilliant details. They were metaphorically referring to an experience of the Joad family’s  that would soon happen, and made one feel as if they lived in these tough times and actually experienced these events.

In each of these sections, the author usually used it as a way to foreshadow what was coming next for the Joads, whether it would be joyful or devastating. Though he did this, you never knew quite which way the book would turn next, until it happened, which then would explain the previous chapter. I found this interesting how Steinbeck intertwined this fictional story so well with the actual of events of this time period using this technique.

The Grapes of Wrath was an amazing read, in terms of detail and complexity to every last emotion of each character. It would be especially interesting to teenagers and adults interested in an intelligent, well-written novel. Although it takes a couple chapters to get started and moving, I would encourage people to try it and stick with reading it, because I found it more than worth it at the end. It was a gripping story in which I became connected to each character and was able to learn a lot about the Great Depression.



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