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Comparing and Contrasting the Novel and Movie Version of The Grapes of Wrath

Good Essays
Comparing and Contrasting the Novel and Movie Version of The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck wrote the The Grapes of Wrath in 1939 to rouse its readers against those who were responsible for keeping the American people in poverty. The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of the Joad family, migrant farmers from Oklahoma traveling to California in search of an illusion of prosperity. The novel's strong stance stirred up much controversy, as it was often called Communist propaganda, and banned from schools due to its vulgar language. However, Steinbeck's novel is considered to be his greatest work. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and later became an Academy Award winning movie in 1940. The novel and the movie are both considered to be wonderful masterpieces, epitomizing the art of filmmaking and novel-writing.

Although both the novel and movie form of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath are considered to be American classics, the novel provides a deeper understanding of the story's time and meaning. Absent from the film, the novel's interchapters provide a greater understanding of the time in which The Grapes of Wrath takes place. First, in the movie it is unclear why the Joads are forced to abandon their farm. It is described very briefly by Muley Graves, leaving the audience in a state of confusion. However, in the novel, Chapter 5 explains exactly why the farmers are forced to leave. In this interchapter, Steinbeck uses a dialogue between a farmer and a representative from a bank; the farmer is forced to leave because the bank, or the"Monster" as Steinbeck says, needs to make a profit, and if the farmer cannot produce any goods to pay off debts, then the bank forecloses the land. This happened to many farmers in the 1930's due to a dr...

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...h provides a more sensational experience than the movie. The novel gives the reader a complete feeling of the time period. It describes in every detail the situation of the Joads, as well as other farming families forced to be refugees from their homeland. On the contrary, the film leaves the reader questioning as to what exactly is happening in America in the 1930's. The novel enthralls the reader with its beautiful descriptions of the setting, and its deep symbolism. On the other hand, the film is barren, dry of symbolism and color. The movie is focused solely on the plot, depriving the audience of Steinbeck's unbelievable writing skills. Despite the fact that both the movie and novel form of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath are viewed as American classics, the movie is almost insufferable when compared to the wonderful masterpiece in the novel form of Grapes of Wrath.