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The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) by…
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The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) (original 1939; edition 2002)

by John Steinbeck

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26,64337072 (4.14)1 / 1312
Member:jak5052
Title:The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2002), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

  1. 90
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  2. 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.
  3. 101
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  4. 60
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (tcarter)
  5. 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.
  6. 73
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  7. 30
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (tcarter)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 64
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Patangel)
  12. 20
    Harpsong by Rilla Askew (GCPLreader)
  13. 20
    The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two stories of migrations of the working class in the US.
  14. 10
    America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard (sirparsifal)
  15. 10
    Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (TomWaitsTables)
  16. 10
    Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt (caflores)
  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. 21
    The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  19. 10
    Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Called the Iranian Grapes of Wrath.
  20. 00
    American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California by James N. Gregory (eromsted)

(see all 27 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 340 (next | show all)
I'm hard pressed to know what to say about this book. It's very well written and the subject matter is strangely compelling. But, it's also rather depressing. It's like reading about society's shooting itself in the foot over and over again.
This is a tale of the dust-bowl days of the 1930s. Small farmers in the mid west have some bad years—due to weather, not to their lack of industry—and are pushed off their land by the bankers, who like to suck up money, but never take any responsibility for the evils they inflict when things go bad, e.g. the original cause of most major economic disasters of the past century or so is flagrantly bad banking practices. But, then the little guys get caught in events as a sort of "collateral damage".
Whatever, the small farmers are evicted and head to California where they have heard things will be better for them. If you know the old Woodie Guthry song, Do Re Mi, then you know that things weren't all that better. So, in a way, reading this book is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. But reading this book is also a way to understand the past and, perhaps, gain some understanding of and sympathy for people whose lots aren't so great through no particular faults of their own. The Joads are good people who just happen to have been born poor and without much opportunity for education or training.
When you read this book, you'll come to see that we're still doing this kind of stuff to our less well off neighbors. The anthropogenic climate change we are inflicting on the world is going to cause future droughts which will cause future disruptions to people's lives, again through no fault of their own. By reading books like this, one hopes people can gain some compassion and work to reverse injustice rather than continue perpetrating it.
One thing that interested me about this book is that I have oodles of relatives who were farmers in Kansas during that period of time (my mother's uncles), yet they seem to have weathered this period more-or-less intact. Perhaps Uncle Frank (he became wealthy—a lawyer perhaps?—and served in the state legislature back in the days when people went into government to make society better for all) helped out his farmer brothers from time to time (I do know he helped out his widowed sister, my grandmother. She paid him back). Perhaps they had larger spreads and used more modern methods. The Joads were farming 40 acres with mule teams. I dunno. Why do some people thrive and others not? We like to lie to ourselves that it's a moral issue, so that we can pretend the unfortunate deserve their misfortune. But generally that is often not the case. The Joads didn't deserve to be stuck on a 40 acre plot with mules when a massive, multi-year drought occurred. As another old song goes, they were the "victims of life's circumstances". ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Steinbeck is one of the greatest writers that has ever lived. His prose is so lush, his characters so real they don't even feel like characters. They're just people. People who are dying. People who can't stop hoping for a better tomorrow or else they won't get through today. This book is terribly tragic in a subtle way. It deserves to be read and considered and considered some more. It's a masterpiece, and I'll leave it at that. ( )
  ainjel | Jun 20, 2019 |
As with most Steinbeck, this book is on the depressing side, and yet (though I am a happy endings girl normally) I enjoyed it. The author pulls you into a very difficult time in our country's history and into the hearts and lives of some of its poorest inhabitants of the era. Their hardships and struggles tug at your heart. If I actually react emotionally to a story, the author has captured my imagination, and that is good book for me. That may be too subjective for some, but they don't have to take my recommendations! If you read and liked this book, try The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. ( )
  Amelia1989 | Jun 10, 2019 |
I remember reading this book in high school and really enjoying it and now having reread it some 30+ years later I loved it once again.

This is a story about a family that is forced off their farm in Oklahoma and they travel to California to try and find work. Though it is not a happy story, but it makes you think. I love the resilience of Ma Joad and how that when they have nothing they still give. ( )
  Knyvern | May 31, 2019 |
Read this book in high school, and found it awfully boring, but, given Captain Paul Chappell's recommendation, I think I may try reading it again... ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 340 (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
Steinbeck, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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."
Last words
(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)

(summary from another edition)

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