In 1934, The Dust Bowl began, damaging the entire Great Plains region and destroying the majority of the country’s crops. The drought first destroyed the land of the midwest, and then the people, forcing them to pack their bags and leave their homes, or stay and starve to death. The Great Depression and natural disasters completely devastated The Great Plains. The first major change in the life of people on The Great Plains was the destruction of soil and land due to over-planting and drought. The number of farms had grown to over 800,000 by 1900 and to 1.2 million by 1930 (Wunder, Kaye, and Carstensen 304).
The Dust Bowl drought has killed all the farmer’s crops and the land has lost it’s richness. Tom decides to travel with his family, even though he’s going against parole rules by leaving the state. The Joads travel west with all twelve members of the family and Casey piled into an old truck. The trip to California proves to be hard when their grandpa dies just days after their departure. Truck problems are regular occurrences and the penetrating heat tires the migrating family.
From reading this book students get a sense of what it was like during this time period thus giving this book a student friendly as well as teacher friendly appeal. Noble-prize winning author John Steinbeck, known for his series of novels displaying the American dream during hard times, has exquisitely portrayed the average American farmer on his quest in search of a job during the Great Depression. The Great Depression was a monumental time in American history which put thousands out of work and on the streets. As an important time in American history, this major event is taught in all US History courses and can be combined with English II classes concurrently reading Of Mice and Men. Students will learn the causes of the crisis duri... ... middle of paper ... ...nue to teach students around the world.
The novel mainly takes place in Oklahoma and California during the times of the Dust Bowl. It follows the troubled journey of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California as they try to find work after being forced off their land. Steinbeck gives a realistic look at what many families had to go through as their lives were permanently altered during the tragedy of the Dust Bowl. The point of view is third-person. The narrator sometimes knows just about everything about the scenery and the thoughts of the people and characters, as well as what they had to face when it came to banks and farm owners, but at many times the actions of the main characters are simply being observed.
Steinbeck witnessed his home town crumble due to financial strain as a child. He felt the effects of the poor economy as his father bounced from job to job trying to make ends meet. In Steinbeck’s early adulthood he worked odd jobs with the poorest of the poor, staying in touch with the injustices these people faced everyday and witnessing how humans react in times of need. The environment that engulfed John Stein beck’s early life shaped his literary style to focus on the economic hardships of rural labor and man’s every day struggles with natural urges.
In 1938, the Chavez family lost their farm due to the Great Depression. They were forced to relocate to California and become migrant workers. Chavez was distressed by the poor treatment that migrant farmworkers endured on a daily basis. His powerful religious convictions, dedication to change, and a skill at non violent organizing cultivated the establishment of the United Farmworkers (UFW). It was also referred to as “La Causa” by supporters and eventually became a vital movement for self-determination in the lives of California's farmworkers.
In the early 1930s, vast dust storms and droughts in the Midwest region of the United States left homes destroyed and farmlands unfertile. This time period was known as the “Dust Bowl”, which lasted about ten years. This greatly impacted the lives of many who lived in this region, particularly the southwest, who were hit the worst with the storms (Nelson, "About the Dust Bowl."). Those who made a living off of their farmland could no longer support their families due to the lack of income because of the drought. This led to a great migration of families westward toward California in order to find jobs, food, and shelter.
These dust storms threatened people’s health and destroyed whole crops (MAP). Impoverished tenant farmers found themselves unable to keep their farms and were forced off their land. This affected everyone in the region, not just the farmers (MAP). Like in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, countless immigrants, broadly nicknamed and despised as “Okies,” flocked to California where they expected to find an abundance of jobs. They flooded the already saturated agricultural labor market, driving wages down as they competed for the few jobs available (Wikipedia).
Farmers suffered greatly, thousands of families who farmed had to sell their farms as it became uneconomical to grow crops. Millions of farmers went to live in the big cities hunting for work. The value of America's foreign trade dropped from $9 billion to $3 billion, as other countries retaliated against US import tariffs. One result of this meant that share values changed dramatically, for example, the shares of the union cigar fell from $113 each, to just $4 each. People blamed the depression on Hoover, as he and the government believed in "Laissez-Faire", which meant that the government took a back seat, did not interfere, and let the economy and companies etc, run with no government help.
When the economy collapsed with it, people everywhere lost their jobs and homes. And in the nations Dust Bowl, sharecroppers had to leave the lands that their families had worked for generations. The stock market crash includes bank failures, factory closing, rising unemployment, decline in spending, a fall in farm prices, prices of farm products also fell sharply economic losses were aggravated by a drought. During the 1920s, the stock market soared. Ordinary people saw buying stocks as a safe quick way to get rich.