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The prize must have come, at least in part, because alongside the poverty and dispossession, Steinbeck chronicled the Joads' refusal, even inability, to let go of their faltering but unmistakable hold on human dignity. Witnessing their degeneration from Oklahoma farmers to a diminished band of migrant workers is nothing short of crushing. The Joads lose family members to death and cowardice as they go, and are challenged by everything from weather to the authorities to the California locals themselves. As Tom Joad puts it: "They're a-workin' away at our spirits. They're a tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're workin' on our decency."
The point, though, is that decency remains intact, if somewhat battle-scarred, and this, as much as the depression and the plight of the "Okies," is a part of American history. When the California of their dreams proves to be less than edenic, Ma tells Tom: "You got to have patience. Why, Tom--us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." It's almost as if she's talking about the very novel she inhabits, for Steinbeck's characters, more than most literary creations, do go on. They continue, now as much as ever, to illuminate and humanize an era for generations of readers who, thankfully, have no experiential point of reference for understanding the depression. The book's final, haunting image of Rose of Sharon--Rosasharn, as they call her--the eldest Joad daughter, forcing the milk intended for her stillborn baby onto a starving stranger, is a lesson on the grandest scale. "'You got to,'" she says, simply. And so do we all. --Melanie Rehak --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
To be completely honest I found that The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was a very boring book. Nothing really engaged me until the climax happened and that wasn’t until very... Read morePublished 3 hours ago by A Jagler
I read it while my grandson was reading it for high school English. It's time to switch to a more modern book.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Written extremely well, revealing how cruel we can become due to fear and ignorance.Published 3 days ago by Marcia H Singleton
I thought I had read Grapes of Wrath in my younger days, and thought I would revisit it. I soon discovered that I had never actually read it, and was astounded at how fresh and... Read morePublished 5 days ago by D. Andrew Kille
Some of the reviewers view this masterpiece as being a clear and historical view of the oppression felt by tens of thousands during this era. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Ronald W. Maron
In my opinion one of the greatest book ever written...after several readings it still stirs my heart . Wonderful !Published 7 days ago by CAROLE PICARD
Sexual content is only implied, not described.
Great classic book. One can feel the despair and hopelessness, as well as the joy and hope.