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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.
I thought The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was one of the absolute best books I have ever read.
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.
The story itself tells of the Joad family and their honesty, wisdom, pain, courage, compassion, and their will to survive.
I enjoyed the writing but the story is wrenching. You can almost feel your own hope get torn after each chapter. Read morePublished 1 hour ago by Terry Farrell
A classic. Enjoyed reading this and now looking forward to the movie.Published 5 hours ago by sportwatcher
I couldn't read past the first couple of chapters, so never finished the book. I picked up Grapes of Wrath after reading Children of the Dust Bowl - I wanted to learn more about... Read morePublished 1 day ago by lstefani
Well reading it 40 years after I first read was a wonderful and enriching experience!Published 2 days ago by Sharon K. Somers
An old classic and once you get into it. Both compelling and tragic. Fantastic writing in the vernacular of that era and that culture.Published 3 days ago by Beverly J. Hanson
This book was ill written, doesn't really have much of a plot nor an ending at all. To be such a classic, I really didn't care for it at all.Published 4 days ago by Frances P. Haverstick
Incredible ending and account of people just trying to find a job that allows them to live a normal decent life... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Dave
I have read this book several times, and always find it a satisfying read, if not particularly upbeat. Steinbeck's writing really catches things as they are.Published 5 days ago by jon9