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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.
depressing, repetitive, humbling, educational about the times, but had a lousy ending! There was no resolution for the future of all the characters. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Molly S. Larson
The story is about America then and now.the rich gets rich on the backs of the poor.yet its also a story about great human kindness and survival,including the milk or human... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Diane Smith
The fact that it is 'illustrated' is not a factor. There were just a few small pictures in the entire book, so it did not distract at all. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Rhonda Licata
The Grapes of Wrath is a powerful book that describes the desperation and hopelessness of the Great Depression era. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Battleship
A period in America's history that is difficult to read and accept.Published 7 days ago by Barbara J. Deichmann
Amazing presence in Steinbeck's writing. You totally feel a part of the
caracters' experiences and surroundings. Read more