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The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath (original 1939; edition 2006)

by John Steinbeck, Robert DeMott (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
26,04136373 (4.13)1 / 1288
Title:The Grapes of Wrath
Authors:John Steinbeck
Other authors:Robert DeMott (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

  1. 90
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  2. 101
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  3. 90
    Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath by Rick Wartzman (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Centers around the controversy that exploded in California's central valleys when The Grapes of wrath was published.
  4. 82
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  5. 60
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (tcarter)
  6. 50
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: As much a story about the trials of individuals as a sweeping portrait and critique of an era.
  7. 73
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Patangel)
  8. 30
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (tcarter)
  9. 41
    The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: The only 20th century American writer who rivals Steinbeck in economy and forcefulness of language.
  10. 30
    Farming the Dust Bowl: A First-Hand Account from Kansas by Lawrence Svobida (nandadevi)
    nandadevi: Svobida´s book movingly describes the conditions in the Dust Bowl (he clung on for six years of crop failures) that the Joad´s left behind in their trek to California.
  11. 30
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (JudeyN)
    JudeyN: Set in a different time and place, but similar themes. Examines the different ways in which people respond to hardship and upheaval.
  12. 20
    The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two stories of migrations of the working class in the US.
  13. 42
    Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (sturlington)
  14. 20
    Harpsong by Rilla Askew (GCPLreader)
  15. 10
    America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard (sirparsifal)
  16. 10
    Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (TomWaitsTables)
  17. 10
    The Bottom of the Sky by William C Pack (LoriMe)
    LoriMe: Mr. Steinbeck wrote a gritty family saga embedded in the early to mid part of the 20th Century. Mr. Pack wrote a gritty family saga embedded in the end of the 20th Century. The characters and stories moved me equally. Both are written beautifully.
  18. 10
    Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Called the Iranian Grapes of Wrath.
  19. 21
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  20. 00
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (caflores)

(see all 28 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
Premio Nobel de literatura en el año 1962, fue una obra muy polémica en el año de su publicación por considerarse muy transgresora. En su crudeza y honestidad, en la piedad que despierta en Steinbeck los desfavorecidos radica la importancia cultural y humana de Las uvas de la ira, consagrada como la obra más importante del autor y de la literatura universal.

Narra la historia de una familia de Oklahoma que por falta de medios y de trabajo, se ven obligados a tomar todas sus posesiones y migrar a California. Durante el viaje y la llegada, el escritor desmembra de manera habilidosa los sentimientos, problemas y situaciones extremas que los Joad sufren en sus propias carnes. No es más, en realidad, que una dura crítica social a la pobreza de entonces que, sin dificultad alguna, se puede traspasar a lo que se está viviendo hoy en día.

Sobresale de Las uvas de la ira su exquisita descripción, considerándose una de la literatura descriptiva agrícola más hermosa que se conoce. Tan sólo el inicio cala hasta los huesos, de manera visual y también dolorosa. Tom Joad, hijo de la familia, será el encargado de encaminarnos durante gran parte del hilo argumental. Tommy se trata de un hombre joven, fuerte y perturbado, que no comprende cómo es posible que se le hayan aputado las posibilidades de vivir y trabajar dignamente. Sus ansias de seguir, de proteger a su familia y su valentía, serán razones claves en los progresos que los Joad consigan hacer.

Otra característica muy interesante de la novela es un capítulo de transcción entre cada uno. Fragmentos más breves, escritos en segunda persona la mayor parte, que obtienen un monólogo interior, o una descripción, o un intercambio de diálogos sin guiones, que hacen aclaraciones sobre diferentes circunstancias a la que se sometía a los emigrantes y agrícolas que se echaron a la carretera en busca de un trabajo. La mayoría de estos capítulos resultan cruciales.

Es, sin lugar a dudas, una de las imprescindibles para cualquier lector que se precie, o para cualquier persona con inquietudes sociales. Una obra que nos permite abrir los ojos a una realidad semejante a al que se vive en la actualidad, que nos llena de ira y de frustración. Y que nos reporta poco consuelo. Pero es sumamente maravillosa. ( )
  MiriamBeizana | Dec 3, 2018 |
The Grapes Of Wrath presents a hard to read book. The storyline jumps serval times from telling of a diner, to chapters just of descriptions (which take away from the story completely), to that of a family. Overall a lack of relatability, and connection to any character as well as characters at points just disappearing from the story and an ending that just stops and doesn’t actually end the story makes this book hard to get through and honestly in my opinion could be truly updated for modern society and readers. ( )
  Preston.Kringle | Nov 21, 2018 |
Alternative title: Running Over Animals and Slowly Starving. This tour de force about trying to survive during the great depression is eloquent in it's simplicity. The Grapes of Wrath follows one family as they are forced off their farm and decide to head to California to try and find work there. Handbills promise plenty of work but they soon discover that not everything is as stated. They are just one of tens of thousands who are down on their luck and desperate to survive. The Joad's suffer one set back after another, just when they think they may be able to make it, something runs them over (karma for all the animals they run over on the road - RIP roadkill). This large family is traveling in a truck with all their worldly possessions and a dwindling amount of money. Reading this you just want the family to be able to settle down, because like all the other poor people they encounter on their travels, they are hard working, nice folk. It's just hard to succeed when the deck is stacked against you. A wonderful, heartbreaking book. ( )
  ecataldi | Nov 8, 2018 |
This book was tough to read. Steinbeck's writing is beautiful, but the story is just so damned sad I kept having to put it down after only reading for a short time. It took me a long time to read simply because I needed frequent breaks from the utter sadness.

It's an excellent book that captures and brings to life a period of American history that was just downright tragic for so many. Steinbeck wrote it at the time of the Dust Bowl and the migration of farmers and families to California seeking work. So, it was contemporary fiction when it was published but reads like historical fiction now..

Steinbeck alternates chapters telling the story of the Joad family with usually shorter chapters set on a larger stage. These chapters tell more about the larger numbers of migrants experiencing the same things. The different writing styles he uses in these chapters really stands out and adds to the imagery and soundtrack of what's happening beyond the Joad family.

I'm kind of surprised I made it through school without having to read this. Despite the fact that it's not exactly an uplifting book, I'm glad I read it.
( )
  SuziQoregon | Nov 1, 2018 |
This is a literary masterpiece. Steinbeck has captured the plight of hundreds of thousand farmers displaced by the drought and dust storms of the thirties. Hardworking men and women are rooted up, farmers who have lived and worked in the same place for generations - who knew and loved the land, had to leave with nothing but an old busted car, their family and only the essentials to survive - sometimes not even that.

The road is hard, the arrival is harder. We witness the change in the people - the men who always knew their way lost, disillusioned. Some despair, some drink, and most grow angry. The Oklahoma people are good, law-abiding people - yet they get hungry and desperate to get food, work, in any way they can. Some turn on each other, others help each other to survive.

Steinbeck alternates between describing the massive scale migration, their causes and consequences, and the intimate details of the Joad family. He throws in chapters from a point of bystanders or crooks taking advantage of the desperate. The details of his observations are astonishing, from a turtle's journey to the faces and gestures of people when they meet.

Character development is sparse yet powerful. We get to know people through dialogue and their actions, how they react to the struggles. These people are hard and hard to know, talk little, and when they do, it is important. The two central characters are Ma, who keeps the family together, and Tom, the only man who stays centered, while the others all lose their way.

The struggles they face are harrowing and they keep getting worse - we don't see an end. In fact, the book is endless, which bugged me - we literally leave the family in the middle of yet another impending disaster, and threads that have been developing are not resolved. Yet this is such a powerful work that it stands on its own even unfinished.

I found this a difficult read, hard to get into, but I was rewarded at the end with a unique literary and educational experience.

( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 335 (next | show all)
Seventy years after The Grapes of Wrath was published, its themes – corporate greed, joblessness – are back with a vengeance. ... The peaks of one's adolescent reading can prove troughs in late middle age. Life moves on; not all books do. But 50 years later, The Grapes of Wrath seems as savage as ever, and richer for my greater awareness of what Steinbeck did with the Oklahoma dialect and with his characters.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Guardian, Melvyn Bragg (Nov 21, 2011)
It is Steinbeck's best novel, i.e., his toughest and tenderest, his roughest written and most mellifluous, his most realistic and, in its ending, his most melodramatic, his angriest and most idyllic. It is "great" in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin was great—because it is inspired propaganda, half tract, half human-interest story, emotionalizing a great theme.
added by Shortride | editTime (Apr 17, 1939)
Steinbeck has written a novel from the depths of his heart with a sincerity seldom equaled. It may be an exaggeration, but it is the exaggeration of an honest and splendid writer.
Mr. Steinbeck's triumph is that he has created, out of a remarkable sympathy and understanding, characters whose full and complete actuality will withstand any scrutiny.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Charles Poore (pay site) (Apr 14, 1939)

» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christensen, BonnieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coardi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DeMott, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hewgill, JodyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perroni, Sergio ClaudioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sampietro, LuigiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrijver, AliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terkel, StudsIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To CAROL who willed it.
To TOM who lived it.
First words
To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.
Now the going was easy, and all the legs worked, and the shell boosted along, waggling from side to side. A sedan driven by a forty-year-old woman approached. She saw the turtle and swung to the right, off the highway, the wheels screamed and a cloud of dust boiled up. Two wheels lifted for a moment and then settled. The car skidded back onto the road, and went on, but more slowly. The turtle had jerked into its shell, but now it hurried on, for the highway was burning hot.

And now a light truck approached, and as it came near, the driver saw the turtle and swerved to hit it. His front wheel struck the edge of the shell, flipped the turtle like a tiddly-wink, spun it like a coin, and rolled it off the highway. The truck went back to its course along the right side. Lying on its back, the turtle was tight in its shell for a long time. But at last its legs waved in the air, reaching for something to pull it over. Its front foot caught a piece of quartz and little by little the shell pulled over and flopped upright. The wild oat head fell out and three of the spearhead seeds stuck in the ground. And as the turtle crawled on down the embankment, its shell dragged dirt over the seeds. The turtle entered a dust road and jerked itself along, drawing a wavy shallow trench in the dust with its shell. The old humorous eyes looked ahead, and the horny beak opened a little. His yellow toe nails slipped a fraction in the dust.

[Penguin ed., pp. 15-16; Chapter 3]
"The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and they took the migrant way to the West. … And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a mysterious new place … a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream."

A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of it's going.
"They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat."
"The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they can't control it."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine John Steinbeck's original 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, with any film treatment, critical edition, notes (Monarch, Barron's, Sparks, Cliff, etc.), screenplay, or other adaptations of the same title. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
This novel is the story of a family and their journey across the United States during the Dust Bowl era. It is a tale of hardship and struggle. It does not portray a pretty scene. As the family travels in hope of finding hidden wealth in California, they come across more and more broken people. They come to realize that California is not all they thought it would be. It is the struggle of their life and the reality of heartbreak. 

This book was so sad to me. I thought it was written really well. Until this book I didn't so know so much care would be taken about the travels of a turtle through the dirt. But it made me face the hard reality of what happened in California during that time period and the brokenness of all the people. I don't like seeing that side of life.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142000663, Paperback)

When The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939, America, still recovering from the Great Depression, came face to face with itself in a startling, lyrical way. John Steinbeck gathered the country's recent shames and devastations--the Hoovervilles, the desperate, dirty children, the dissolution of kin, the oppressive labor conditions--in the Joad family. Then he set them down on a westward-running road, local dialect and all, for the world to acknowledge. For this marvel of observation and perception, he won the Pulitzer in 1940.

The prize must have come, at least in part, because alongside the poverty and dispossession, Steinbeck chronicled the Joads' refusal, even inability, to let go of their faltering but unmistakable hold on human dignity. Witnessing their degeneration from Oklahoma farmers to a diminished band of migrant workers is nothing short of crushing. The Joads lose family members to death and cowardice as they go, and are challenged by everything from weather to the authorities to the California locals themselves. As Tom Joad puts it: "They're a-workin' away at our spirits. They're a tryin' to make us cringe an' crawl like a whipped bitch. They tryin' to break us. Why, Jesus Christ, Ma, they comes a time when the on'y way a fella can keep his decency is by takin' a sock at a cop. They're workin' on our decency."

The point, though, is that decency remains intact, if somewhat battle-scarred, and this, as much as the depression and the plight of the "Okies," is a part of American history. When the California of their dreams proves to be less than edenic, Ma tells Tom: "You got to have patience. Why, Tom--us people will go on livin' when all them people is gone. Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." It's almost as if she's talking about the very novel she inhabits, for Steinbeck's characters, more than most literary creations, do go on. They continue, now as much as ever, to illuminate and humanize an era for generations of readers who, thankfully, have no experiential point of reference for understanding the depression. The book's final, haunting image of Rose of Sharon--Rosasharn, as they call her--the eldest Joad daughter, forcing the milk intended for her stillborn baby onto a starving stranger, is a lesson on the grandest scale. "'You got to,'" she says, simply. And so do we all. --Melanie Rehak

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:03 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The Grapes of Wrath is a landmark of American literature. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man's fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman's stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. First published in 1939, The Grapes of Wrath summed up its era in the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin summed up the years of slavery before the Civil War. Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism, Steinbeck insisted that: The Battle Hymn of the Republic be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book-which takes its title from the first verse: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's fictional chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930's is perhaps the most American of American Classics.… (more)

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