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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.
The story itself tells of the Joad family and their honesty, wisdom, pain, courage, compassion, and their will to survive.
I love old stories, because somehow you would feel like you knew how this book would end, but would want to continue reading to make sure.
Steinbeck writes with a simple elegance, while telling a sad, yet compelling story about struggles through the Great Depression.
This was an amazing and heartbreaking account of a family caught in the worst of the depression. Humanity at its best and its worst. Highly recommended.Published 12 hours ago by WT Sharpe
Didn't test appreciate this book as assigned reading in high school ,but it sure does make what I complain about seem triffle at best.Published 23 hours ago by barbara turley
A classic - read 50+ years ago and loved re-reading again. The ending was stunning!Published 1 day ago by Tooter102
I was truly surprised I managed to make it through all of my schooling without ever reading this book. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Alexandra Grey
Truly his best work. The depression of the dust bowl days is long gone but there are still people starving and desperate today. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Melissa Cline
This book was first published when I was about eight years old. My mother read it, and I saw the movie later. It is a disturbing and depressing story, but an important one. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Mary J. Alexander
Great book! It really deserves its reputation as a classic.
Bought this book for my son's summer reading assignment. He thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more