John Steinbeck And The Dust Bowl

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John Steinbeck and The Dust Bowl John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is a novel that deals with a broad spectrum of issues and human conditions. Steinbeck deals with topics such as intolerance, labor relations, greed, isolation, poverty, and the human spirit. Even though the original book was published in 1939, the novel is still widely read and in many schools is required reading for English classes. Steinbeck opened the eyes of America with his portrait of human suffering and the working conditions in parts of this country. John Steinbeck wrote from firsthand experience and from what he had witnessed happening in the United States. (3) John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902. He had three sisters. John…show more content…
By 1940, about 2.5 million people had moved from the Plains states and of this number, approximately 200,000 moved to California. (1) When they reached the California border, they did not receive a warm welcome. The local police stopped carloads of migrants coming into California. “Undesirables” were turned away by the police at the borders. John Steinbeck saw the type of reception that newcomers received when he visited the labor camps in rural California. Steinbeck dramatized this in The Grapes of Wrath, “They were hungry, and they were fierce. And they had hoped to find a home, and they only found hatred. Okies-the owners hated them because the owners knew they were soft and the Okies were strong, that they were fed and the Okies were hungry; and perhaps the owners had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and armed.“ (4) John Steinbeck saw the inhumane way that at people were treated by the people of California. Once the migrants got through the entry barriers, the migrants found that their new life was almost as difficult as the one they had left behind. A lot of farms in California were owned by large companies and corporations. They were bigger than the farms in the plains, and the crops were like nothing that the migrants had ever seen before. Fields of wheat were replaced by crops of fruit, nuts and vegetables. Similar to the Joad family in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath", about 40% of migrant farmers wound up in the San Joaquin Valley, picking fruit and cotton. Life for migrant workers was hard. They were paid by the amount of fruit and cotton picked, with earnings ranging from seventy-five cents to $1.25 a day. Out of these low wages they had to payment rent on their leaky and rough shack that usually had only a dirt floor and no plumbing. Oftentimes the migrants had to buy their supplies
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