HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck
Loading...

The grapes of wrath (original 1939; edition 1976)

by John Steinbeck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,02533545 (4.14)1 / 1198
Member:joehaf
Title:The grapes of wrath
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:London Heinemann 1976
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

  1. 101
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 90
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  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. 60
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (tcarter)
  5. 82
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  6. 40
    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
    Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (TomWaitsTables)
  16. 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.
  17. 10
    America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard (sirparsifal)
  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. 11
    A Working Stiff's Manifesto: A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine That Fired Me, and Three I Can't Remember by Iain Levison (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Description de la vie d'un travailleur itinérant.

(see all 26 recommendations)

1930s (2)
Read (90)
Unread books (1,008)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (309)  Italian (6)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (5)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Vietnamese (1)  Catalan (1)  All (1)  All (334)
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
I’ve always wanted to read The Grapes of Wrath. I think it is important to immerse oneself in a wide variety of literary genres from all over the world. I also think that it’s important to read a Nobel Prize winning author every now and then.

John Steinbeck’s book won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962 and The Grapes of Wrath was given specific praise. The book was originally published in 1939 and is an American realist novel that follows the migration of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California in the search of work and a new life.

This book is a classic book for many reasons. It is read by school children all throughout the USA and around the world and it has been talked about at length by literary critics since its first appearance. Needless to say, the thought of reviewing the novel myself feels slightly daunting. Classic literature is important to so many people and it can feel extremely intimidating to review something so well known. Plus, after almost 70 years since the books debut, is there anything new to say? Well, I hope so.

If I had to pick just one word to describe Steinbeck’s book, it would be melancholic. Steinbeck takes you on a journey through America that forces you to bear the heat, dust, and hopelessness alongside the Joads. You feel every heartbreak: when Grampa dies; when Granma dies of a broken heart; when Casy is killed for standing up for the rights of the workers. With every piece of fried dough, your heart sinks.

The vernacular can be quiet confronting for someone who isn’t used to Oklahoma slang and accent. At first it irked me and I felt that it slowed the flow of the novel. As I got to understand the language better I actually realised that it made me slow my reading down. Instead of skimming, I took in every word. Steinbeck created a haunting rhythm that rattled alongside the Joad’s struggling second-hand car.

Steinbeck’s mention of Indians (Native Americans) also make me think of the implications of ownership of land and colonial ideas of ownership of land. On several occasions one of the Joads mention that their family fought Indians for the land they once occupied. They had won the fight, ‘rightfully’ making the land theirs. In a similar way, the bank that is treated as an omniscient god-like character, takes control of the land and allows the tractors destroy the houses and wreck the barns. The plight of native peoples across the world is sadly a similar story, one that involves loss of land, tradition, culture, and agency. While one can feel sorry for the Joads who are forced to travel, who are treated like scum, and less than human, I wonder what this story would be if you changed the Joads with a Native American family and ‘Okies’ with ‘Red’ or ‘Scalper’. I also wonder how strongly it would resound with people if the Joads were not white. But these are all what-ifs. The truth of the matter is that Native Americans are treated as obstacles in the way of land ownership. Their plight after being driven off their land is not explained or visited and it is as though they disappear into nothingness.

My last comment on The Grapes of Wrath is about the ending. I felt like I was going along at a nice pace and then I smacked into a glass door I didn’t see in time, and that was that. The end. Also, the mysterious smile from Rose of Sharon as she is breastfeeding a starving grown man confused me immensely. And, I felt like the ending let the book down. Is this image confronting because of the hopelessness and desperation of life in California? If someone has some different understanding of the ending of the book I would love to hear what you have to think, because I can’t make tails or heads of it. Maybe that was Steinbeck’s point?

“Sometimes a sad man can talk the sadness right out through his mouth.” p55 (Casy)

“How if you wake up in the night and know – and know the willow tree’s not there? Can you live without the willow tree? Well, no, you can’t. The willow tree is you. The pain on the mattress there – that dreadful pain – that’s you.” p 93 ( )
  bound2books | Feb 12, 2017 |
It was an unexpectedly good read. Given the backdrop of the plot, I had thought the book would be quite boring. But the travails of the Joads and how they work so hard to feed themselves turned out to be a reminder of the ethics of hard work, honesty and decency. ( )
  siok | Feb 6, 2017 |
A stunning book about those who have no home, no government, about the starving and the neglected. Steinbeck's fine grasp of Southern vernacular language and understanding of family dynamics, along with sweeping pictures of a people on the move, create a work that is so total, so moving and real, that it stands as a landmark of survival tales. The Joads' struggle is in a way the story of every people on the run, in every part of the world. Classics are called so because they are timeless, and Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is truly that.
1 vote bartt95 | Jan 15, 2017 |
I may or may not have cried multiple times while re-reading this book. It's a little over-the-top in places, but I still think Grapes of Wrath is essential reading. ( )
1 vote jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Saga of the Okies move to California during the Dust Bowl ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 309 (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 was an unexpectedly good read. Given the backdrop of the plot, I had thought the book would be quite boring. But the travails of the Joads and how they work so hard to feed themselves turned out to be a reminder of the ethics of hard work, honesty and decency.
 
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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coardi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrijver, AliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Terkel, StudsIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Contains

Has the adaptation

Was inspired by

Inspired

Has as a study

Has as a commentary on the text

Has as a student's study guide

Has as a teacher's guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

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)

» see all 20 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.14)
0.5 11
1 145
1.5 13
2 252
2.5 49
3 783
3.5 151
4 1675
4.5 295
5 2615

Audible.com

9 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,243,620 books! | Top bar: Always visible