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).
Every farmer’s farm was torn apart by the damaging winds and the dry weather. The resulting agricultural depression contributed to the Great Depression’s bank closures, business losses, increased unemployment, and other physical and emotional
Although the AAA benefited the ones in the top agricultural positions, it just as much hurt the people in the lower positions. As if agricultural workers did not have an already tough time during the depression, rural America was extremely hurt by the weather. The 1930’s saw some harsh weather conditions for farming. A well-known example is the Dust Bowl in areas such as Oklahoma (Foner 803). The Dust Bowl displaced more than 1 million farmers and author John Steinbeck writes about these former farmers who he refers to as the “Harvest Gypsies,” whom had their lands destroyed and the places they called home disappeared, forcing them to migrate for work.
Farmering families were unable to make any profit because of atrocious farming conditions. Harsh drought led to crop growth failure, then heavy winds blew away the topsoil on the land, resulting in vast amounts of Dust all over the land. Oklahoma became known as the “Dust bowl”. John Steinbeck sums up what many migrant families were forced to do in The Grapes of Wrath, “the dispossessed were drawn west from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand.” 1 From 1930 to 1935, almost 750,000 farms were lost through bankruptcy or sheriff sales.
John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury Throughout history, many devastating economic, social, and environmental changes have occurred causing people to rise and overcome immense odds. In the 1930s, The Great Depression and the Dustbowl Disaster, a drought with horrific dust storms turning once-fertile agricultural lands of mid-America into virtual wastelands, forced thousands of destitute farmers to pack their families and belongings into their cars in search of agricultural work in central California. Years of degradation stemming from the end of slavery beginning at the conclusion of the Civil War destructed the old southern aristocratic families. These different external influences impact on the characters is seen in John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury. Steinbeck illustrates and advocates drastic external changes in the economy and life style of the downtrodden migrants, as he follows the Joad family from Oklahoma to California.
The mistreatment is a form of disenfranchisement, by excluding and segregating a group of people from the rest of society. The disenfranchisement of the Oklahoma farmers during the 1930s was caused by a combination of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression which led to the farmers being forced to move west where they were mistreated because there were not enough jobs. In the 1930's, farmers in the Great Plains region began deep plowing and destroyed the top soil and natural grasses so that they would be picked up in the wind (Boundless.com 1) The Great Plains area consists of parts of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Also a combination of a long drought and high winds led to dust storms creating the dust bowl that affected many people. Dust storms are giant clouds of dust that are thrown into the air and gathered into clouds that flew violently across the Great Plains.
The Use of Symbolism in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck that in my opinion illustrates the terrible conditions under which the migratory farm families of America during the 1930's were forced to live under. This novel in a very descriptive and emotional way tells of one family's migration west to California from Oklahoma (the Joad family) through the great economic depression of the 1930's. The story revolves around the family having to abandon their home and their livelihood. They had to uproot and set out across America to California because tractors were very quickly industrializing their farms, and the bank took possession of their land because the owners could not pay off their loan. The novel shows how the Joad's deal with moving to California.
The migrant situation of the 1930’s as depicted in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was caused by many diverse factors. It started with an extremely dreadful drought, known as the Dust Bowl, which swept through the mid-west. The gluttonous landowners and the multitudes of fliers that they passed out made the situation even worse. To top off all of that the nation was going through a terrible depression. At this time the whole nation was changing as a whole.
Title: Grapes of Wrath Author: John Steinbeck Length: 455 Historical Background: Throughout the 1930’s, a significant drought hit the mid west and practically destroyed the agriculture market. This near natural disaster was called the “Dust Bowl.” The economic crash for farmers caused many to lose their houses and farms and this forced them to move westward in search of opportunity. Biographical Information: John Steinbeck lived with an Oklahoman family who was travelling westward. This prepared him greatly to write this novel accurately and from firsthand experience. John Steinbeck is originally from Salinas Valley, California, and his economic troubles throughout his younger life fueled his passion in writing novels with a setting in the period of the Great Depression.
This led to a great migration of families westward toward California in order to find jobs, food, and shelter. The immense hardships faced during this migration caused many families and individuals to work for very little money, reside in unsanitary camps, and face extreme conditions. Those who were unfortunate enough to not find work ended up homeless, jobless, and would ultimately die of starvation. An excellent example of this occurs in John Steinbeck’s international bestseller The Grapes of Wrath, where the Joad family is forced to migrate westward and must face adversity head on after being hit with an enormous dust storm and losing their valuable farmland. In order to illustrate how Steinbeck’s novel represents themes of family commitment and losses of sanity within society during this era, many analysts and literary critics have used characterization, conflict, and the theory of new historicism within the novel to break down these particular themes.