Equal Power for Women in The Grapes Of Wrath

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John Steinbeck wrote a book, The Grapes of Wrath, which would change forever the way Americans, thought about their social classes and even their own families. The novel was completed in 1938 and then published in 1939. When this novel was released the critics saw it as being very controversial. Some critics called it a master piece, while others called it pornography. Steinbeck's attack of the upper-class and the readers' inability to distinguish the fictitiousness of the book often left his readers disgruntled. The time period in which this book was written was the 1930's while there was a horrible drought going on in the Oklahoma pan handle and during the Great Depression. Thousands of Oklahoma families were forced off their land because of their failure to farm and as a result they were unable to pay their bills so the banks were foreclosing on their houses. This resulted in a huge population of people all migrating west to California, because they were promised work by big fruit plantations. Unfortunately, when this mass of people showed up the jobs with high wages advertised on the pamphlets were not there. This left them homeless and in deep poverty with no where to go. The families would stay in California though either in hoovervilles or government camps. Steinbeck brings you along with the Joads on their journey to California. Although Steinbeck shows some comparisons between the Joads and the greater migrant community, the Joads do not serve as a microcosm of that culture because they differ in regards to leadership of the family and also the Joads' willingness to give to anyone.

As soon as the Joads leave their farm, it is evident who is the leader of the family. Once Pa is taken off his land his leadership is gone, he becomes lost without having to deal with the strict regimen of farming. With out waiting around for Pa to get over his loss Ma steps up to lead the family and make crucial decisions. Ma foresees the way the family will deteriorate without proper leadership and thus she takes what little strength they all have left and pushes the family west together. This shift in power is obvious from the beginning; when the family is leaving Tom asks if Casey could come along with them and is it Ma who steps in to respond, "It aint kin we?

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