The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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     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. These few main factors led to one of the most widespread waves of migrant workers this country has ever seen.

     All of these problems began when the horrific drought called the Dust Bowl tore through the mid-west. Nearly all of the crops perished. The farmers were then forced off of the land they were raised on because the owners of the land couldn’t make any money off of it anymore. Without food to feed their families or money to buy food they were starving. The only answer they could find was the fliers that advertised work in the west.

     The leading cause of the migrant situation was the flood of fliers pouring in from California. The western landowners passed out more fliers than they needed jobs to be filled. When the workers arrived they had to work for little pay. They had no choice because there were many other people willing to work for less. When all of the work was done the local police and landowners would kick the migrants out of town. Thus, keeping the cycle going.

     Finally, at this time the whole nation was in a progressively changing. Everyone from the truck driver to the waitress in the restaurant was involved in the change. Everyone was moving from only worrying about himself or herself to worrying about the whole. They realized that they had to band together and help each other out to survive.

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This demonstrates the “I to We Theme” as well. “Pa said, ‘We’re thankful to you folks.’ ‘We’re proud to help to help,’ said Wilson.” (189)

     The creation of the migrant situation was a major part of the nation in the 1930’s. The drought killed their crops. The landowners treated them like bums. Yet the country was learning to band together to survive. It had many causes and was felt by the whole country.
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