The Grapes of Wrath Kindle Fire by John Steinbeck Click Here to Download the Book John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression follows the western movement of one family and a nation in search of work and human dignity. Perhaps the most American of American classics. The novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Due to their nearly hopeless situation, and in part because they were trapped in the Dust Bowl, the Joads set out for California. Along with thousands of other "Okies", they sought jobs, land, dignity and a future. When preparing to write the novel, Steinbeck wrote: "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects]." The book won Steinbeck a large following among the working class, perhaps due to the book's sympathy to the workers' movement and its accessible prose style. The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940.
Reviews Dylan Baker's performance in this CD is really outstanding. Highly recommend it to both those who have previously read The Grapes of Wrath and those who have never read it. Our current economic and political climate gives new life to this amazing classic: "And the great owners....the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repressiion works only to strengthen and knit the repressed." And Ma may have a message for both Pa and the politicians of today: "Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out. But we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people."
A riveting portrayal of the Joad family as they make their way to work and survival through the Great Depression. Steinbeck has an overal tone to the story that big business = bad... small common man worker = good. I'm sure in those days businesses were not very fair, civil or kind to the low level workers; or the overall welfare of society. As we still see to this very day, food compaies dumping product that wouldn't make a profit. Dumping food and supplies rather than shipping to those in need because shipment costs too much. Politics and economics aside, this is a vivid tale of the Joad's journey as they just barely scrape by in their journey from Oklahoma to California in a dilapidated vehicle; spending time in Government camps, Privately owned worker camps, Hoovervilles, and rail cars. All the while it is the women, in particular Ma Joad, who remain strong and hold the family together through these terrible times. The men are utilitarian workers....money makers, negotiators, workforce organizers. Ma Joad handles all the emotional tension and handling of problems that the family encounters...and as far as I can tell she single handedly keeps the family in tact through all of the roughest patches; until she has no choice but to make Tom leave. You'll definitely be more appreciative of what you have after this read.
That's it. I've officially made up my mind: high schoolers have no business reading great literature. In a noble effort to teach literary criticism (of which I'm a great fan, mind you) and likewise shove some semblence of culture into the trivial wasteland of teenage consciousness, a great injustice has occurred : fear of the literary masterpiece. Case in point: The Grapes of Wrath. Guess what? I shocked even myself this week, when on a whim I dove into this long-dreaded book. Even more
amazing was that I loved it, and couldn't put it down! This isn't the first time this has happened, either. Last year, while helping my brother with Brave New World, my cursory skimming turned into a full-blown reread of a book I had formed a very poor opinion of 15 years ago. And yet, now I thought it was amazing (not surprisingly, my brother saw little to appreciate). Helping him piqued my curiosity about how it compared to 1984, which I had never read; I tore through it before the week was up. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them (ok, maybe 'enjoy' is the wrong emotion considering the subject matter, but they were meaningful and positively impactful for me). And now, after finally getting around to Grapes of Wrath, I'm convinced that these books weren't meant for teenagers -- so much of these stories is completely beyond the scope and maturity of most kids. The masterful writing and poignant symbolism is wasted and thus cheapened when it is relegated to the drudgery of rote answers on a midterm. Steinbeck didn't write a textbook, he wrote about current events, and hardships, and life. Does a 16 year old have enough store of experience to grasp, let alone appreciate, the intrinsic value of such books? Hardly. All this serves to do is put them off from others later, perhaps to greater detriment than if they never read it all. There are more than enough junk books out there that can be sacrificed to the cause of education without defaming the best. I'll bet you could get some pretty detailed and controversial analysis on the symbolism and it's implications in Twilight, for example......just sayin.
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