"The Grapes of Wrath" and the Great Depression Book Review by Nicky

"The Grapes of Wrath" and the Great Depression
A discussion of the effects of the Great Depression on the characters in John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath".
# 147889 | 1,771 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Aug 05, 2011 in Literature (American) , History (U.S. The 1930's - Great Depression)

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This paper reviews the book "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. Specifically, it discusses the effects of the Great Depression on the characters and other aspects of the book. It portrays the Great Depression as the major cause of the characters' misery. Unemployment, class differences and the economic collapse of the 1930's are discussed in this paper and compared to today's economic crisis through the lens of Steinback's classic American novel.

From the Paper:

"Many literary critics also note the book is essentially not about the Joads, but about the American culture that allowed the Joads and so many families like them to occur. Another critic notes, "Conceptually, the purpose of these chapters is, as in U.S.A., to broaden the scope of the novel, to allegorize the Joad family saga by placing it in the larger context of American culture and economic conditions" (Heavilin 153). With the current economic crisis, it is easy to see how economic collapse affects every aspect of life, from job loss to losing a home and/or car to lack of health care benefits and even clothing and food. If the people have nowhere to turn, just like the Joads, there will be widespread panic and depression throughout the country, and it will be extremely difficult to recover. The Great Depression created a new American culture of frugality, survival, and family unity that had somewhat disappeared during the wild "Roaring 20s," and it changed the government too, adding new social programs to help avert another disaster like the Great Depression, such as Social Security and Unemployment taxes. Steinbeck uses the Joads as an example of what was not in place in the early years of the Great Depression, to show how shabbily the government treated these victims of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, at least at first."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gusmorino 3rd, Paul Alexander. "Main Causes of the Great Depression." Gusmorino World 1996. 13 April 2009 <http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/senate/6854/greatdep.html>.
  • Heavilin, Barbara A., ed. The Critical Response to John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.
  • Johnson, Claudia Durst. Understanding the Grapes of Wrath: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. "First Inaugural Address: 1933." American Primer. Daniel J. Boorstin, ed. New York: Meridian, 1995. 862-870.
  • Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"The Grapes of Wrath" and the Great Depression (2011, August 05) Retrieved February 24, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-grapes-of-wrath-and-the-great-depression-147889/

MLA Format

""The Grapes of Wrath" and the Great Depression" 05 August 2011. Web. 24 February. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-grapes-of-wrath-and-the-great-depression-147889/>