The Setting of Grapes of Wrath

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The Setting of Grapes of Wrath The Grapes of Wrath does not have one specific setting, but rather travels from Okalahoma to California. The setting in this novel is realistic because you can follow the Joads journey on a map. Accuracy to the novel was very important to Steinbeck because he wanted this novel to be a social document rather then just another piece of fiction. The main characters in the novel are sharecroppers turned into migrant workers much of the stetting is taken place outdoors. The weather, land, water, and the road are as important to the novel as almost any character or theme. The coming of a long drought to America's midsection in the 1930s sets the book into activity. Farmers can't survive on dehydrated land. Nor can the banks that own the land make an income when the tenant farmers don't produce enough to nourish even themselves. In contrast to the dry Dust Bowl, California is fruitful and lush. Its orchards and fields grow fruit, nuts, cotton, and vegetables of every sort. It's the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey. It's paradise, except for the people trying madly to keep the migrants at bay. For hundreds of thousands of migrants, including the Joads, of course, California turns out to be a lost heaven. The migrant road- Route 66- links Oklahoma to California. Along its miles we see the filling stations, diners, and car lots that line many of America's highways even today. These sites remind us of what our country looks like and repeatedly tell the migrants that they are not wanted- unless they have money. Steinbeck emphasizes on the nature of the background while focusing on specific events. For example, in the very beginning of the book, when everything is peaceful, the wind is rustling; the turtle is walking along, pleasant-sounding with its surroundings. However, as they travel on their journey down Highway 66, the turtle gets hit by a car, a dog gets run over, and there is a drought. When the animals get injured, it shows how innocence is trapped in the hands of the cruel and authoritarian people. In Ch 19, there's the scene with the soup and the starving children who demolish the soup.
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