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The grapes of wrath by John Steinbeck
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The grapes of wrath (original 1939; edition 1976)

by John Steinbeck

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21,22828166 (4.16)1 / 941
Member:joehaf
Title:The grapes of wrath
Authors:John Steinbeck
Info:London Heinemann 1976
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Work details

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

1930s (3)
  1. 81
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck (Booksloth)
  2. 70
    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. 60
    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (tcarter)
  4. 60
    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John_Vaughan)
  5. 72
    The Heart is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  6. 73
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Patangel)
  7. 40
    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.
  8. 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.
  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. 20
    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.
  11. 20
    Harpsong by Rilla Askew (GCPLreader)
  12. 20
    The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (tcarter)
  13. 21
    The Tortilla Curtain by Tom Coraghessan Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Theme of workers' rights
  14. 10
    America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard (sirparsifal)
  15. 10
    Missing Soluch by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Called the Iranian Grapes of Wrath.
  16. 10
    Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb (one-horse.library)
  17. 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.
  18. 11
    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.
  19. 00
    America and Americans by John Steinbeck (mensageiro)
  20. 00
    American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California by James N. Gregory (eromsted)

(see all 24 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
This was a poignant, heart-rending, and powerful book. I suppose of the books I have read I would compare it most to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, in the fact that it is a story of the plight of the poor in the face of unregulated and heartless business. But I think that where Sinclair's story becomes hopeless and undeniably bleak, Steinbeck manages to keep his story infused with stories of the strength of the human spirt, of people helping each other, even when their own situations are dire. Also, although this book is certainly in no way feminist, Steinbeck also shows the strength of the women he follows - with Ma basically taking over the family in the last half of the book, and with Rose of Sharon looking past her tragedy to save a life in the very last scene.

I wish I could say more about how moving this book is, but when I try to describe it, it speaks to me in emotions and not in words. It's one of those books you have to read and experience for yourself.

All I can say is that this was a fantastic book. Many classics do not really deserve that label, in my opinion, but this is one that certainly does. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
This book has been sitting on my shelf staring at me since junior year in high school. I tried to read it for my English class then and only made it through about 150 pages. I just didn't like it and I have to say that it did not improve with age. This is the story of the Joad family, a poor family trying to survive the great depression. They leave their home state of Oklahoma for California where they hope to find work, but instead find no work and horrible living conditions. Steinbeck alternates the Joad's story with chapters that are general in nature and show that the Joads are just one family among thousands who experienced this. These parts in particular really annoyed me. I thought the personal story of the Joad's was much more effective and the general parts just felt like political rhetoric to me. Man vs. tractor, big mean corporations vs. the little guy, etc. It was a really depressing book and I also didn't like the ending. You never really find out what happens to the Joads although you can assume it won't be good! If I hadn't read East of Eden, which I really enjoyed, I'd be tempted never to read any Steinbeck again. ( )
  japaul22 | Aug 10, 2014 |
The Grapes of Wrath is pretty much THE great American novel as far as I can tell. I dare say you are less American if you have not read it. It is grueling and harrowing -- everything a Depression-era novel should be. Read it. ( )
  scott.bradley | Jul 24, 2014 |
A favorite of mine. The struggles of an Oklahoma family forced to move where the agricultural jobs are - California where they encounter the mass of similarly suffering people competing for the same work. The depiction of the Depression and the inhuman economic system of producing for the lowest cost which drives down wages and increases unemployment is here in all its unintended consequences. Steinbeck is awesome. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
Grapes of Wrath
Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors. His style can be recognized throughout his writings. It is timeless, moving yet has an easy flow.
The Grapes of Wrath is a story written in the depression era. This is a moving tale of a poor farming family who are getting kicked off their land.
The characters and the story come to life with each word. This could easily be a true story of its time. It is a time in history we need to contain knowledge of. Though fictional, The Grapes of Wrath is a good choice for a history student to read as they turn the pages in their history book to The Great Depression. Many hard-working families suddenly became penniless, homeless and hopeless during this wretched era.
The term “sharecroppers” was nearly said with a sneer.Many Americans were duped into traveling out west with promises, hope and dreams of a bountiful land filled with wealth and riches untold. Yet upon their arrival, they like all the other hundreds of starving families find themselves living in camps and begging for work on a day to day schedule.
The people were treated as if they were a blemish on society because they were poor and hungry.
This is a moving story and a must read. It is an excellent example of a very hard time in history which our grandparents and great-grandparents endured. ( )
  ReneeRobinson | Jun 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 260 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steinbeckprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, DylanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coardi, CarloTranslatorsecondary 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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:51 -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 22 descriptions

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