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The Grapes of Wrath

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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 1930s is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

455 pages, Paperback

First published April 14, 1939

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About the author

John Steinbeck

958 books21.8k followers
John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (1902-1968) was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, and the novella, Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley region of California, a culturally diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place.

Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck's imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. Later, he used real historical conditions and events in the first half of 20th century America, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter.

Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology.

One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue of a road trip he took in 1960 to rediscover America. He died in 1968 in New York of a heart attack, and his ashes are interred in Salinas.

Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films, and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 22,790 reviews
Profile Image for Malcolm Logan.
Author 3 books36 followers
December 4, 2013
Whenever I revisit a classic I'm struck by how much more I get out of it now than I did when I was 24 or 19 or, God forbid, 15. Giving a book like the Grapes of Wrath to a 15 year old serves largely to put them off fine literature for the rest of their lives. The depth of understanding and compassion for the human condition as communicated by a book like this is simply unfathomable to those who haven't lived much life yet, but after you've gotten a healthy dose of living, it comes across like fine music to a trained ear. My heart doesn't bleed for the Joads today as it might have 25 years ago. Yes, it's grim and unfair, but it's no longer shocking or disturbing, and I can see now that Steinbeck didn't intend sensationalism to be the main point. What he's about is revealing the human dignity, the innate goodness and unbreakable pride of these people, and by extension the American people in general, something that still resonates today, especially with reference to the working classes. When the Joads and their kind decline government hand outs, requesting instead the simple opportunity to work hard and be rewarded commensurate with their labor (even if it means a grueling cross-country journey to a place they don't know) one can hear today's white working poors' exasperated disdain for government, insisting that they simply be allowed to keep more of their pay and not be held back in their efforts by nit-picking legalities and cultural trivialities that disapprove of their lifestyles. Sadly, most such people will never read the Grapes of Wrath. Worse yet, many liberal lawmakers won't read it again after high school and won't glean from it an essential understanding about the pride and perseverance of the American working class which the far right is playing like a fiddle much to the detriment of the entire nation. A book like the Grapes of Wrath should be required reading - for every American over 30.
Profile Image for Stephanie *Eff your feelings*.
239 reviews1,234 followers
May 18, 2013
If you are an American you need to read The Grapes of Wrath. It scares the poop out of me because, my fellow Americans, we are repeating history. If live anywhere else read it as well as a guide for what not to do.

In the Grapes of Wrath Mr. Steinbeck tells the tale of the first great depression through the Joad family from Oklahoma, who has been displaced from their family farm through no fault of their own. You see, there was a big bad drought which made farming impossible. In those days the family farm fed the family and what they had left over they sold. But when the drought hit the only thing that would grow was cotton, you can’t eat cotton, and that crop sucked the life right out of the soil so no other crop could grow in it for a very long time.

“These things were lost, and crops were reckoned in dollars, and land was valued by principal plus interest, and crops were bought and sold before they were planted. Then crop failure, drought, and flood were no longer little deaths within life, but simple losses of money. And all their love was thinned with money, and all their fierceness dribbled away in interest until they were no longer farmers at all, but little shopkeepers of crops, little manufacturers who must sell before they can make. Then those farmers who were not good shopkeepers lost their land to good shopkeepers. No matter how clever, how loving a man might be with earth and growing things, he could not survive if he were not also a good shopkeeper. And as time went on, the business men had the farms, and the farms grew larger, but there were fewer of them.”

Some guys with a lot of cash came along and bought up all the struggling family farms and leased the land back to the former family farmers and when they couldn’t produce, the new Owners kicked the families out of their homes. Put them on the streets, children and elderly and all……..who cares, right? Poor people are less than.

From California came hand bills, pamphlets promising jobs and urging the homeless to drag their whole lives via barely moving junk heaps to the golden state where grapes grew in bunches by the side of the road. What choice did they have? They drove across deserts and mountains, losing loved ones along the way, they answered those hand bills in droves. What else could they do?

What happened when they got to California? They didn’t get jobs, they got ridicule. They were called Okies and shitheals and were looked down upon. “How can they live like that?” The people with money would ask, as if being poor was a choice. As if they were just lazy and all it would take to get out of poverty was to get a job……but there were no fucking jobs. The owners sent out more handbills then they needed to. Why? Because the more men begging for a job the less the owners would have to pay them. Supply and demand. The greedy sons a bitches wanted to pay as little as possible, and that is exactly what they did. The Okies did not have a union of course.

“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.”

Who are the “great owners” today? The Walton family (of Walmart), six of them, have the same amount of money as the bottom 40% of Americans. That is 124,720,000 people, people. $93 billion…..BILLION and they want more, more money than could be spent in several lifetimes. They don’t need it all, but the rest of America does. Do you think the Walton’s might have an interest in keeping people poor? Go check out who’s in that store at 3am.

Let’s also take a look at who is running against President Obama. Mittens is so rich that he doesn’t even know what a doughnut is, and he’s fighting for the Waltons and all of the 1 %. He’s so rich he thinks he is entitled to the office and “us people” do not need to see his tax returns……the nerve of us, move on. We need to sit down, shut up, and stop asking questions because he, being a rich bastard, is an “owner” and we should know our place. Not bloody likely.

“Our people are good people; our people are kind people. Pray God some day kind people won’t all be poor. Pray God some day a kid can eat.
And the associations of owners knew that some day the praying would stop.

And there’s the end.”

Also posted at Shelfinflicted

Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books1,356 followers
June 6, 2019
This is another review-as-I-go, which helps me capture my thoughts of the moment, before I forget them!

One thing that strikes me in these early pages is Steinbeck's technique of focusing on things that are supposedly "tangential" to the main narrative of the Joad family but yet are central to their fate. I'm thinking of the descriptions of the natural world like that wonderful chapter about the turtle, who eventually gets scooped up by Tom. You see the world through the turtle's eyes for a moment and you see how the indifference of the characters to nature is a larger phenomenon that leads to their own ruin. Steinbeck reinforces this theme later when he talks about how farmers can no longer afford to feel and relate to nature, that they're basically chemists dealing in nitrogen and machine operators dealing with tractors. But, he says, when the "wonder" is gone, people are doomed. And of course the entire book is about the doomed nature of the dust bowl, and this--he says--is how we got there, through this kind of moral breakdown.

There's another, similar type of moral breakdown at work in the wonderful passage about the car dealers talking about how to rip people off. Here we see other forces--greed, capitalism, deceit--that also serve as a form of human self-sabotage.

This is what I appreciate so far: that this book is ABOUT SOMETHING! That Steinbeck has something to say about the human endeavor. I find this element missing in so much contemporary fiction, which doesn't really seem to be about much of anything at all.

As it gets closer to California, and the landscape changes, the first ominous whisperings appear that California will not be the paradise the Joads expect. Still they carry on, feeling like they have no choice, swept up in this tide of history.

At first the Joads encounter only the cruelty of capitalism--that the large field owners want to have hundreds of thousands of poor workers to choose from because it will keep wages low. Then in the government camp, they finally meet with simple human kindness--really the antithesis of all that. Steinbeck is showing how important kindness is and how it is crushed in the capitalist machine. Money becomes like an ideology, a mask that shields the owners from the consequences of their bad actions. But it's also become necessary for survival. No longer can small farmers work their own land. They are forced into the larger economy, forced to earn wages and participate in the world of money in order to survive. Thus, the Joads are eventually forced to leave the government camp in search of work. Where? They don't know. Somewhere vaguely north.

Eventually they find work picking peaches, but they soon become caught up in labor unrest that spills into fatal violence, and they're forced to leave. I won't give away much of what follows. Suffice it to say that the harrowing ordeals don't end there, nor the emphasis on simple human kindness as the antidote to the capitalist machine. Simple human kindness becomes, by the end, the mother's milk that can sustain them, but only barely and uncertainly, and we're left with the indelible portrait of people trying to survive, unsure how it might turn out.

A brave, fierce work that brims with the sense that it doesn't have to be this way--that people have made choices to be cruel but can make choices to be kind, as well. That something has to change because for most people, this architecture and logic of cruelty brings no relief and no joy.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,465 reviews3,629 followers
January 29, 2023
“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain…” Revelation 16:10
The Grapes of Wrath begins with the description of the severe drought and dust storms that deprived farmers of their livelihood and sustenance…
The dawn came, but no day. In the gray sky a red sun appeared, a dim red circle that gave a little light, like dusk; and as that day advanced, the dusk slipped back toward darkness, and the wind cried and whimpered over the fallen corn.

No land, no home, no money, no food – time to hit the road and find a better place… But is there a better place?
The bitterness we sold to the junk man – he got it all right, but we have it still. And when the owner men told us to go, that’s us; and when the tractor hit the house, that’s us until we’re dead. To California or any place – every one a drum major leading a parade of hurts, marching with our bitterness. And some day – the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they’ll all walk together, and there’ll be a dead terror from it.

But freedom of the poor is restricted by the freedom of the state and freedom of politicians and freedom of the rich…
“Here’s me that used to give all my fight against the devil ’cause I figgered the devil was the enemy. But they’s somepin worse’n the devil got hold a the country, an’ it ain’t gonna let go till it’s chopped loose. Ever see one a them Gila monsters take hold, mister?”

That’s the way of the state.
“Lead ’em around and around. Sling ’em in the irrigation ditch. Tell ’em they’ll burn in hell if they don’t think like you. What the hell you want to lead ’em someplace for? Jus’ lead ’em.’’

That’s the way of politicians.
“I hear ’em an’ feel ’em; an’ they’re beating their wings like a bird in a attic. Gonna bust their wings on a dusty winda tryin’ ta get out.’’

And that’s the fate of the poor.
“I’m learnin’ one thing good,’’ she said. “Learnin’ it all a time, ever’ day. If you’re in trouble or hurt or need – go to poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.’’

The power always is on the side of the rich and if you’re poor they won’t give you anything, you’ll have only what you can take.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
August 2, 2021
(Book 592 From 1001 Books) - The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. The book won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and it was cited prominently when Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962.

The narrative begins just after Tom Joad is paroled from McAlester prison, where he had been incarcerated after being convicted of homicide in self-defense.

While hitchhiking to his home near Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Tom meets former preacher Jim Casy, whom he remembers from his childhood, and the two travel together.

When they arrive at Tom's childhood farm home, they find it deserted. Disconcerted and confused, Tom and Casy meet their old neighbor, Muley Graves, who tells them the family has gone to stay at Uncle John Joad's home nearby. Graves tells them that the banks have evicted all the farmers.

They have moved away, but he refuses to leave the area. ...

خوشه‌ های خشم - جان استاین‌بک (امیرکبیر) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1977میلادی

عنوان: خوشه های خشم؛ نویسنده: جان ارنست اشتاین بک (استاین بک)؛ مترجم: شاهرخ مسکوب؛ عبدالرحیم احمدی؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، چاپ اول 1328، در 520ص؛ چاپ چهارم، 1346، در 624ص؛ چاپ پنجم 1351، در 658ص؛ چاپ هفتم 1356، چاپ هشتم 1357؛ چاپ دهم 1379؛ چاپ چهاردهم 1387؛ شابک 9789640006283؛ چاپ هجدهم 1392؛ چاپ بیست و یکم 1397؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

برگردانهای دیگر از آقایان و خانمها: «ع‍ب‍دال‍ح‍س‍ی‍ن‌ ش‍ری‍ف‍ی‍ان‌، تهران، بزرگمهر، 1368؛ در 610ص؛ چاپ دیگر ت‍ه‍ران‌: ن‍گ‍اه‌‏‫، 1387؛ در 614ص؛ شابک9789643510152؛ چاپ یازدهم 1399»؛ «اح‍م‍د طاه‍رک‍ی‍ش‌، تهران، زرین، چاپ دوم 1362؛ در 566ص»؛ «سیمین تاجدینی، آتیسا، سال1398، در 463ص؛ شابک 9786226611251؛ چاپ سوم 1399»؛ «سعید دوج،روزگار، 1397، در 580ص؛ شابک9789643748104؛» «غلامرضا اسکندری، به سخن، مجید، 1395، در 703ص؛ شابک 9786007987261؛»؛ «احمد طاهر‌کیش، مشهد ارسطو، 1357، در 528»؛ «محمدصادق شریعتی، گویش نو، 1392؛ در 171ص»؛

محکومیت بی‌عدالتی، و روایت سفر طولانی یک خانواده ی تنگدست «آمریکایی» است؛ که به امید زندگی بهتر، از ایالت «اوکلاهما»، به «کالیفرنیا» مهاجرت می‌کنند؛ اما اوضاع آن‌گونه که آن‌ها پیش‌بینی می‌کنند، پیش نمی‌رود؛ رخدادها در دهه ی سوم از سده بیستم میلادی، و در سال‌های پس از بحران اقتصادی بزرگ «آمریکا»، روی می‌دهند؛ «اشتاین بک (استاین بک)»، این رمان را در سال 1939میلادی منتشر کردند؛ ایشان برای نگارش همین رمان، برنده ی جایزه ی «پولیتزر» شدند؛ «جان فورد» نیز، در سال 1940میلادی، فیلمی با همین عنوان، و با بازی «هنری فوندا»، براساس داستان همین کتاب ساخته‌ اند

کتاب را در «ایران» جنابان آقایان «شاهرخ مسکوب»؛ و «عبدالرحیم احمدی»، به فارسی ترجمه کرده‌ اند؛

نقل نمونه متن: (آره، از گشنگی داره میمیره؛ همونوقت که پنبه چینی میکرد ناخوش شد؛ شش روز تمام چیزی نخورده بود؛ مادر، تا آن گوشه پیش رفت و مرد را نگاه کرد؛ پنجاه سالی داشت؛ با چهره ای ریشو و پوست استخوانی، و چشمهای خیره و تهی؛ جوانک در کنار مادر ایستاده بود؛ زن پرسید: پدرته؟ - آره، میگفت: گشنه نیس، یا همین حالا چیز خورده؛ همیشه سهمش را میداد به من؛ حالا دیگه نا نداره؛ به زحمت میتونه تکون بخوره)؛ پایان نقل از متن کتاب ص 519کتاب

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Julie G.
897 reviews2,930 followers
February 13, 2022
At 17, I bought The Grapes of Wrath, cracked it open, and, after reading a few pages, declared it BOR-ING. Yawn. I was off to the mall with my tight abs to find some jeans that would accentuate my vacuous mind.

The same copy then sat on my various book shelves ever since. I've never been able to sell it or give it away, so finally, at 42, with far looser abs and a pair of fat jeans in the closet, I decided to give it an actual try.

Now, the ladies at my book club will tell you. . . I'm not easily won over by any book, though I do believe that a good book is a good book. . . merely because YOU like it. A good book may not have any other merit other than you thought the protagonist was sweet. Or cute.

But, a great book? Well, a great book is a whole different story. A great book has nothing to do with YOU, or at least not YOU individually. A great book pays tribute to the collective YOU, our collective consciousness. A great book garners the support of Divinity and has the staying power of the people through multiple generations and years.

And this is a great book. One of the best ever written. This is the rare Great American Novel, up there with Lonesome Dove, The Catcher in the Rye and Gone with the Wind.

I can only imagine that Steinbeck's hands were shaking as he removed the last page from the typewriter (yes, writers used something called typewriters back then). I picture a silent room as he experienced a true moment of awe. I like to think he had tears in his eyes, or that they slid slowly down his face, just as mine did throughout this read. As Frost would say, "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

Believe me, if you are over 35 and have a heart, you can not read this novel without tears, laughter, anger and awe. This novel is better than approximately 95% of novels currently on this planet. I'd like to travel back in time and cup Steinbeck's face in my hands and say, "You did it, John. You did it."
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
September 9, 2021
ENGLISH (The Grapes of Wrath)/ITALIANO

The Great Depression, told through the journey of one of the many families of farmers fallen on hard times in the 1930s. The exhausting search for work, food and a roof over the head, put a strain on human dignity, and degrade the soul, making unexpected even genuine attitudes of solidarity by those who share the same destiny. But hunger and very poor living conditions sow grains of desperation, from which gems of gall immediately sprout.
"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage"
seems to be more a statement than a warning. We are human, and we are destined to fight the injustice by the uprising.
"And this you can know, fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe"
And then Tom Joad, one of the protagonists of the biblical exodus, who is unable to tolerate the anguish that his loved ones suffer, becomes the symbol and the incarnation of the human being of John Steinbeck. However, readers have a bitter pill to swallow at the end.

Vote: 8,5


La Grande Depressione americana, raccontata attraverso il viaggio di una delle tante famiglie di agricoltori che caddero in rovina negli anni trenta. L'estenuante ricerca di lavoro, cibo e un tetto sotto cui dormire, mette a dura prova la dignità umana, abbrutisce l'anima, rendendo inattesa e insperata perfino la solidarietà da chi condivide lo stesso destino. Ma l'estremo disagio e la fame seminano chicchi di disperazione, dai quali germogliano subito gemme di fiele.
"Nei cuori degli umili maturano i frutti del furore e s'avvicina l'epoca della vendemmia"
più che un monito, questo estratto lapidario rappresenta una semplice constatazione. Noi siamo esseri umani, e siamo destinati a combattere il sopruso con l'insurrezione.
"Sconfortante sarebbe notare che l'Umanità rinuncia a soffrire e morire per un'idea; perchè è questa la qualità fondamentale che è alla base dell'Umanità, questa la prerogativa che distingue l'uomo dalle altre creature dell'universo"
E allora Tom, uno dei protagonisti dell'esodo biblico della famiglia Joad, con la sua incapacità a tollerare le angherie che subiscono i suoi cari, diventa il simbolo e l'incarnazione dell'essere umano di John Steinbeck. Tuttavia, alla fine, masticano amaro i lettori.

Voto: 8,5

May 16, 2023
“...in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy.”

And so 5 stars for a sobering read that is ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, an epic story and a haunting journey of the Joad family that epitomises the plight of many people during the 1930’s Great Depression. Route 66 became a path of people in flight as they headed west in search of a livelihood after the devasting effects of the dust and scorching summer that destroyed their agricultural and their means of supporting their families with it.

A book that tells of hunger and destitution while the landowners and large companies reeked in huge profits while forcing people to work in atrocious conditions and for appalling wages. It tells of the brutality at the hands of law and order that was unleashed to keep a desperate work force subservient and in need. And it tells of the lack of morality as thousands of people were subjected to the most inhumane treatment, in living conditions tantamount to slavery.

“And the migrants streamed in on the highways and their hunger was in their eyes, and their need was in their eyes. They had no argument, no system, nothing but their numbers and their needs.”

After an arduous journey across America, people continued to experience the worst of exhaustion, fatigue, and tiredness beyond what any sleep could cure as they toiled the lands and witnessed the large companies destroy crops, because to give it away free meant people would not be forced to buy this produce.

Review and Comments

John Steinbeck writes a fascinating story of crime that goes beyond denunciation, and through his writing you can feel the sorrow and desperation etched on the faces and in the souls of men, women and children, and in the case of the Joad family like many others would have been forced to bury their dead en route.

He tells of story of the have's and have not's', but not just in financial terms, the have not's are those devoid of any moral code and abused a people displaced and in need, starving without homes, and without shelter. The have's were the people rich in their values and you can feel this in the way Steinbeck describes their sense of community, demonstrating the best of human nature, as he speaks of the “…twenty families that 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 powerful literacy feast for the eyes, a tale of hardship that touches your heart, and a master class in writing that has stood the test of time. Epic, reflective, haunting, absorbing and yet beautiful.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,255 followers
October 2, 2022
During the bleakness of the dry, dust bowl days as the suffocating particles fall everywhere ...you can't breathe... in your nose, eyes, clothes, food, house, the darkness at noon unable to see the Sun during a dust storm, the top soil flying away carried by the winds never to return in the Depression, when people ... farmers lost their homes and land to the banks incapable to repay their loans , (no crops no money) symbolized by the Joad family of Oklahoma in the 1930's . Seeing black and white pictures tell only a small portion of this, the real story that John Steinbeck wrote about masterfully in his novel The Grapes of Wrath. Where a hungry large group of people, travel to the promise land of California a distant 1,500 miles away but find more starvation, abuse and death. In an old dilapidated automobile the Joad's , Ma the de facto leader and Pa, Tom, just released from prison for killing a man in self defense ( it didn't help that both were drunk) . Rose a teenager married to a lazy, shiftless dreamer Connie and pregnant, Uncle John who likes the bottle and his late wife he mourns too much for, their ancient parents and four other children. And last but not least the preacher Reverend Jim Casy who doesn't want to preach any more, having lost his faith the thirteenth member ( some will not get to their goal) . He's now after walking around searching for a purpose, in fact living like a bum decides since the people have left for the Golden State , why not him too ? Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and at long last crossing the Colorado River into the paradise of California, with high mountains and hot steaming deserts, discovering more desert wastelands and still hundreds of miles to the fertile, prosperous , pretty, fabulously wealthy valley of San Joaquin the richest one on the planet. But not for the 300,000 Okies , ( a misnomer, since many are not from Oklahoma) an unknown name to the newcomers as they're scornfully called here, unfriendly natives and police hate , greatly distrust these poor needy miserable folks and frightened of them, most assuredly. The affluent farmers keep cutting the wages 30 cents an hour, 25, 20 and dropping how can the workers survive? Tom is angry , tired of the endless struggle going from place to place in search of work, lack of food, housing, especially the treatment by the well off... like he is scum . Nevertheless believes that nobody is above him and will fight back if necessary. Deadly strikes, deputies burning down the laborers camps, violence and starving the old and the young, the vulnerable will not endure. A strong statement about man's inhumanity to his fellow being ...A little kindness sought but will it be found ?
July 5, 2017
“…Είναι μια χώρα λεύτερη.
Ε, για δοκίμασε να κάνεις χρήση της λευτεριάς σου. Είσαι λεύτερος , σου λέει ο άλλος, μόνο σαν σου βαστά η τσέπη σου να πληρώσεις τη λευτεριά σου.”

Τα σταφύλια της οργής είναι μια μαρτυρία που παρέχουν οι ανθρώπινες αισθήσεις. Οι αισθήσεις (σύμφωνα με τον Επίκουρο) αποτελούν το βασικότερο κριτήριο της αλήθειας.
Μα η μαρτυρία του βιβλίου θαρρώ πως προηγείται και είναι ανώτερη
απο στοχασμούς και θεωρίες.

Απίστευτη δύναμη ο λόγος του Στάινμπεκ.
Συγκλονίζει και αναγκάζει τον αναγνώστη να βιώσει καταστάσεις,να νιώσει συναισθήματα,να σκεφτεί,να συγκρίνει και να καταλήξει σε συμπεράσματα διαχρονικής "οργής",που θα προτιμούσε να αγνοεί.

Με μια αξιοθαύμαστη απλότητα αυτό το μυθιστορηματικό έργο μοιάζει με μια γυμνή πραγματικότητα που έχει και τις έξι ανθρώπινες αισθήσεις και μας αφηγείται με πλήρη συνείδηση την κοσμοαντίληψη της εποχής του 1930 στην Αμερική (μεγάλο κραχ),που ωστόσο είναι σπαρακτικά-αρχετυπικά δεμένη και ταυτόσημη με τη σημερινή εποχή. Με την ανθρώπινη μοίρα.

Η αίσθηση της "γεύσης" που έχει πάντα προστατευτικό ρόλο,γίνεται αντιληπτή καθώς παλεύει ανάμεσα στο γλυκό και το πικρό φάρμακο για τα βάσανα του ανθρώπου.

Γευόμαστε πίκρα ανισότητας αγαθών,σπατάλης,φτώχειας,
αισχροκέρδειας και θανάτου.
Παράλληλα μας γλυκαίνει απολαυστικά η μεγαλοσύνη και η δύναμη της ανθρώπινης ψυχής.
Η μεγάλη δύναμη και η ταπεινή αξιοπρέπεια της γυναικείας θέσης μέσα στην οικογένεια,η οποία δίνει τη ζωή,τη θρέφει και την διαφεντεύει ακλόνητα σαν αλάθευτη θέα.

Η αίσθηση της όρασης είναι απαραίτητη για την επιβίωση.
Απαιραίτητη για να βλέπει την ομορφιά και την ασχήμια. Μόνο που εδώ σε τούτο το βιβλίο βλέπει την απόλυτη αλήθεια.
Και αυτή είναι η μαζική επίθεση της ολιγαρχίας του κέρδους κατά της υπόλοιπης ανθρωπότητας. Βλέπει μόνο μηχανές,τράπεζες,εσωτερικούς μετανάστες,αναδουλειά,πείνα,
απανθρωπιά.Ανέχεια και καταφρονεμένους ανθρώπους να δέχονται ανάλγητη συμπεριφορά απο το κεφάλαιο του καπιταλιστικού συστήματος. (Καμία σχέση με κομμουνιστικό σκεπτικό-είναι απλώς πανανθρώπινο).

Η αίσθηση της όσφρησης σχετίζεται με το συναίσθημα.

Κι εδώ τα αρώματα και οι δυσοσμίες είναι άπλετα. Αναγνωρίζουμε εύκολα οσμές χαλασμένων ανθρωπων,μυρωδιές μοχθηρίας,αίματος,εγωισμού,
κακίας,απελπισίας και πίκρας.
Όμως απο κάπου διαχέεται και ένα μεθυστικό άρωμα αλληλεγγύης, οικογενειακής θαλπωρής,συμπαράστασης,
ελπίδας,αγάπης,αφοσίωσης και ανείπωτης ανθρωπιάς.

Η αίσθηση της ακοής είναι επιλεκτικά έξυπνη.

Ακούει το κλάμα,την κραυγή απόγνωσης,τη σιωπή που επικρατεί στον απόπατο της ψυχής των εργοδοτών,την κυκλική κίνηση της ιστορίας του κόσμου και το τραγούδι της ντροπής για τις ταξικές επιθέσεις του χρήματος.
Το τραγούδι αυτό ακούγεται επαναληπτικά και δεν κουράζεται να ξαναλέει για τη γελοιοποίηση του βολεμένου και την προσμονή του φτωχού.
Αραιά και που ακούγεται ένας ύμνος επανάστασης αλλά γρήγορα η ένταση χαμηλώνει τόσο που χανεται στον αέρα της ομηρίας.

Ακολουθεί η αίσθηση της αφής.

Ιδιαίτερα σημαντική για την πραγματικότητα που μας αφηγείται. Το άγγιγμα είναι σωτήριο. Η αγκαλιά το καλύτερο γιατρικό. Το φιλί η πρώτη επαφή με τον κόσμο. Η αφή μας προειδοποεί για οποιαδήποτε βλάβη μέσω του πόνου. Αισθανόμαστε το μεταξένιο άγγιγμα της δικαιοσύνης και της ελεύθερης ψυχής των βιοπαλαιστών ηρώων.
Αγγίζουμε τα σημάδια και τις μελανιές που πονάνε διαρκώς επειδή τα αποτυπώνει εντονότερα το όνειρο που γίνεται εφιάλτης,το γέλιο των παιδιών που πεινάνε,τα σταφύλια της οργής που
μεστώνουν και σαπίζουν.
Και οι ανθρώπινες επινοήσεις που τρέφονται με κέρδος,όπως οι τράπεζες που αναπνέουν με χρήμα και εξουσιάζουν ζωές,μα δεν εξουσιάζονται.

Τελευταία και σημαντικότερη η αίσθηση της διορατικότητας. Η ενόραση.
Εδώ η γυμνή πραγματικότητα του βιβλίου έχει να πει εν κατακλείδι.

«…..Να φοβάσαι τη μέρα που θα πάψουν οι βομβαρδισμοί, μ’ όλο πουν θα υπάρχουν ακόμα οι βομβαρδιστές, γιατί η κάθε μπόμπα είναι μια απόδειξη πως δεν πέθανε το πνεύμα. Να φοβάσαι και τη μέρα που θα σταματήσουν οι απεργίες, μ’ όλο που θα υπάρχουν ακόμα οι μεγάλοι ιδιοκτήτες-γιατί η κάθε μικροαπεργία που χτυπιέται, είναι μια απόδειξη πως έγινε το βήμα. Πρέπει κι αυτό να ξέρεις-να φοβάσαι τη μέρα που ο Συνειδητός Άνθρωπος θα πάψει να αγωνίζεται και να πεθαίνει για μια ιδέα, γιατί αυτή και μόνο η ιδιότητα είναι το θεμέλιο του Ανθρώπινου Συνειδητού, κι αυτή και μόνο η ιδιότητα κάνει να είναι ο άνθρωπος ένα όν ξεχωριστό μέσα στο σύμπαν.»

Καλή ανάγνωση!!

Πολλούς ασπασμούς!
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
March 27, 2020
Man-made environmental catastrophe and its (in)human cost - a study in inequality and injustice!

Imagine having to leave your country because it is a wasteland created by a decade of dust storms? Imagine having nowhere to go, but still crossing the desert in hope of finding a future after your past was wiped out by human failure, greed and environmental carelessness? Imagine not being welcome when you arrive, with nothing but what your family vehicle can carry ...

“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it's us without our past?”

Imagine nobody caring about those thousands of "us" who lost their identities with their farms and livelihoods. Immigrants are always also emigrants, and they carry the memory of being somebody, somewhere, in a distant past. To treat them as if they existed in a historical vacuum is as cruel as it is common, and it is the recurring topic of Steinbeck's heartbreaking writing.

Steinbeck is one of those authors that I love unconditionally, more and more with each reading experience. I once travelled from where I lived in Texas to visit Steinbeck country in California - looking for his traces in Monterey and Salinas, always accompanied by his complete works, from hilarious short novels to the heavy epic novels of good and evil. In the end, I discovered his characters in the faces I saw on the road, I smelled his descriptions of nature in the humid or dry, dusty air, I heard his dialogues in the everyday exchanges on markets and in hot small town streets.

I love them all, each one in my carefully kept Steinbeck collection. Asked by one of my children the other day which Steinbeck had influenced me most, I thought I was going to give an evasive, diplomatic answer, not making a statement for or against any specific story. Instead I heard myself say:

"The Grapes of Wrath!"

And the moment I said it I knew that I meant it. It may not exactly be my favourite Steinbeck, but definitely the one I feel uncomfortably, chillingly getting under my skin immediately. Just recalling the voices of the characters makes me shiver - as they suffer through the ordeal of fleeing from the Dust Bowl, that environmental catastrophe caused by greed and paid for by individual families, to a Californian paradise which doesn't welcome newcomers. The poverty, the suffering, the love and despair - it is tangible in each sentence, in each story line!

Family saga, social study, historical document, political standpoint, ethical statement on compassion and greed - it is all there, but invisible under the masterfully crafted story, which has its own quality, beyond the message on the essential needs and worries of poor, common people without protective networks.

I don't know how to close this review, as I am not done with this novel at all, despite having read it several times. But one quote shall stand as a warning to those who believe their wealth protects them against being humans, and feeling poor for behaving poorly:

“If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do 'll make him feel rich.”
Profile Image for Guille.
785 reviews1,748 followers
July 10, 2019

¿Puede un claro y explícito maniqueísmo echar por tierra una novela?

Las uvas de la ira es total y absolutamente maniquea. Hay buenos muy buenos y malos muy malos. Los pobres agricultores que son arrojados de sus tierras por la maquinaria capitalista, por un lado, y todos los demás (policía, grandes propietarios, comerciantes aprovechados, fanáticos religiosos), por el otro. Es una novela-tesis: a lo que puede llegar el capitalismo si no se le pone límites, si su desarrollo no tiene que ajustarse a regulación alguna. Todo el libro gira en torno a esa idea. No hay ni una sola referencia al punto de vista del explotador, no hay ningún intento de comprender, solo expone hechos y el punto de vista del explotado. Busca en el lector la complicidad con esta idea y, esta es mi conclusión, eso no le quita ni un ápice de calidad a la obra.

Por supuesto que el maniqueísmo puede ser un lastre en otro tipo de novela. La vida no es en blanco y negro, eso es de cajón, pero tampoco se puede caer en el polo opuesto, en el grisismo de toermundoegüeno. Voy a citar un texto de Alejo Carpentier:
"No ha de dejarse intimidar por el sambenito del maniqueísmo... en la crítica se dice que una novela es maniqueísta porque tiene la lucha de los buenos contra los malos. ¿Y qué cosa es la historia toda sino una lucha gigantesca de los buenos contra los malos? ¿Quiénes son los malos? Es una minoría opresora. ¿Quiénes son los buenos por definición? Una gran mayoría oprimida. Toda la vida ha sido así, toda la historia ha sido así. Siempre habrá buenos contra malos. Toda la historia está hecha así, y, si eso es maniqueísmo, es una vasta historia de maniqueísmo."
Estas novelas-denuncia no pueden ser de otra manera. Aparte de la calidad literaria, que puede o no puede darse independientemente del planteamiento maniqueo o no, estas novelas tienen un objetivo: despertar conciencias o que el pasado no se diluya en una neblina de olvido. Es más, en muchos casos, de no ser así, sería además una falta de respeto a las víctimas. Porque hay casos en los que hay buenos y malos, sin más. La ingenuidad en estos casos sería justamente no ser maniqueo. Hay hechos que no tienen justificación moral, y me da igual que sean perpetrados por esos que son muy amigos de sus amigos y cabezas de familia ejemplares, o que pasaron una niñez bla, bla, bla. Hay veces que es precisamente ese contraste entre las distintas caras de un mismo ser humano el que da más fuerza a la maldad de los personajes, pero hay otras en que todo eso estorba, no tiene un papel en el tema tratado, no viene al caso y no creo que sea un defecto per se.
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
688 reviews3,625 followers
August 1, 2021
This book was incredibly scary; especially because it was so realistic. John Steinbeck has a way of depicting society and people in a raw and honest way that leaves you with a hollow feeling inside, and yet you devour his books because they are so amazing.
In "The Grapes of Wrath" we meet Tom, who has just been released from prison on probation, as well as his family who's about to move to the West because banks and tractors have evicted them from their own home and land. It's USA in the middle of the Great Depression and times are changing. Everyone is moving from East to West in order to find work and survive these new and abhorrent circumstances.
In many ways, the writing of this book is very straight-forward, but at the same time it digs deeper when you read between the lines and look behind the characters' behaviour and dialogue. I was especially fond of how Steinbeck, at every other chapter, stops up to depict the conditions in America at that point in time; whether it be about a car seller and his greediness, the devastating conditions for the workers in the fruit fields or a turtle.
I was a big fan, and especially the ending left me speechless. Until now, "East of Eden" has been my favourite of Steinbeck's, but "The Grapes of Wrath" is a close runner-up.
Profile Image for فرشاد.
150 reviews298 followers
June 10, 2015
برای کسانی که بدنبال لذت درک لبخند ژکوند هستند ! چیزی که‌میخوام بنویسم بیشتر از جنس احساسه‌ تا از جنس تحلیل .. فقط بیست صفحه از کتاب رو‌خونده بودم‌و تونستم باهاش ارتباط برقرار کنم .. یه شب بارونی بهار .. حوالی ساعت ده شب خوندن‌ رو‌شروع‌ کردم و تا هفت صبح یکنفس خوندم .. نزدیک به ده ساعت یه حس عجیب و غریب که تووی این بیست سالی که میخونم اولین بار بود که برام اتفاق میفتاد .. چهارصد صفحه‌اول رو یه تیکه و پیوسته خوندم .. کتاب با هر سطرش روح ‌خواننده ‌رو‌به ‌درد میاره ..جاهایی از داستان قلب ادم واقعا ب�� درد میاد .. عجیب نیست که خود نویسنده بعد از نوشتن این رمان مدتی دچار اختلال روحی میشه .. داستان روایت اوارگی یه خانواده پرجمعیت تووی شاهراه شماره ۶۶ هست و مصیبت هایی که یکی بعد از دیگری گریبان گیر این خانواده میشه .. شخصیت ها به راحتی اب خوردن حذف میشن .. و هر بار یه بهت سنگین فضای سیاه داستان رو‌در بر میگیره .. میتونم بگم دیگه محاله بتونم همچین‌داستان زیبایی بخونم .. مخصوصا پایان داستان .. بدون شک نقطه اوج داستان همون سه سطر انتهایی داستان هست .. اونقدر دردناک که انگار هیچ وقت قرار نیست از ذهن خارج بشه .. بهترین رمانی بود که تووی زندگیم خوندم ...
Profile Image for Luís.
1,945 reviews610 followers
January 22, 2023
First, there is the feeling of failure, the guilt, the look at what we have lost, then the departure—a departure to another life, a better experience, the promise of an El Dorado. We then return to the land that saw us being born: the endless journey, the first death, the hunger, and the cold. But we still believe in it because we saw the leaflets that promised a job with a good salary. Even if a small voice tells us it is unhealthy, all these people leave in the same direction. Everyone with their dreams in mind holds out. Then the arrival, the descent into hell, hunger, the cold. No house, trim work, or salary does not allow you to eat your fill. Dead, still dead. The cruel vision of the people of the new country who do not accept us but need us for the job. The unacceptable reality and the impossible return. So our mother, who has always taken everything without flinching, will become the family's citadel, motivating some and cuddling others. But nothing helps. Misery is on our doorstep, disillusionment, still death—acceptance, anger.
That's a profoundly moving but realistic tale. Sublime prose on the 1929 crisis in the United States insidiously reminds me of the plight of our modern world. One thing has not changed; banks still have power! A novel to read or reread is excellent. To be prescribed for all intolerant people on Earth.
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,348 followers
February 26, 2012
In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

This book really gets my goat. Those poor, dirty Joads. So poor and so, so dirty. After being displaced from their Oklahoma farm following the Dust Bowl storms that wreck their crops and cause them to default on their loans, the Joads find themselves a family of migrants in search of work and food. They join a stream of hundreds of thousands of other migrant families across the United States to what they believe to be the prosperous valleys of California. Only once they arrive, they discover that there is nothing prosperous about it—not only is there a serious shortage of work (mostly caused by an overabundance of labor that came with the influx of so many other migrant families), but they also have to contend with growing anti-migrant sentiment among the local population and wealthy landowners who think nothing of taking advantage of them in their state of vulnerability. Without proper labor laws protecting worker’s rights and no trade unions to represent their interests, the Joads are severely underpaid for whatever work they do manage to find, and they simply fall deeper and deeper into despondency.

The reason this gets my goat is ‘cause it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, the Joads are uneducated and wouldn’t qualify for anything more than basic manual labor. Yes, it is the Great Depression and this is not an easy time to find a job even for skilled workers. And yes, they are a family of 47 and they probably look pretty ridiculous all crammed up in the back of their makeshift pickup truck. But gosh darn it, if only they had unions! If only they had fair labor standards to guarantee them a minimum wage! If only they had the protection of government legislation to prohibit wealthy landowners from colluding to keep prices high and wages low!

Which leads me to wonder… what would Ayn Rand think of all this? After all, aren’t labor unions and economic regulation precisely what she argues against? By that account, if Atlas Shrugged is the supposed Bible of right-wing thinkers, then I’d have to say that The Grapes of Wrath might just be its antithesis. But the real difference, as far as I can tell, is that while Atlas Shrugged represents a crazy woman’s vision of a whack job world that could never actually exist, John Steinbeck tells it like it is, and how it was, for so many hard working Americans who were taken advantage of under a system that did nothing to protect them. And what’s even more remarkable is that Steinbeck’s characters (whom, by the way, Rand would refer to as “moochers”—just thought we should be clear on that) make Dagny Taggart and Henry Reardon look like a couple of pussies. What is it Ma Joad says? That if you’re in trouble or hurt or need, to “go to poor people—for they’re the only ones that’ll help.”

This is a novel about the working poor, and it should serve to remind us what can go horribly wrong in an unregulated economy.
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
July 20, 2019
“I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the house they build, I’ll be there too…”
- Tom Joad in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God…”
- The Book of Revelations 14:19 (King James Version)

For as long as I can recall, I have loved reading. But that love has been tested before. I am speaking, of course, about school, and in particular, about a succession of uninspired English teachers foisting uninspired syllabi upon their disinterested students. It only takes one fourth-rate translation of Crime and Punishment to make you foreswear the written word in favor of the videogame console.

Maybe it was the very fact that I was being forced to read that did it. Whatever the reason, I spent most of high school and college absorbing very little of value from my literature courses.

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was the exception. You can keep To Kill a Mockingbird and (especially) Catcher in the Rye. It was Steinbeck’s sturdy portrayal of the itinerant Joad family, leaving the dustbowl of Oklahoma for the green fields of California, that captured my imagination.

My reasons for enjoying The Grapes of Wrath are probably the same reasons that this perennially-assigned book has so many critical detractors. I loved the simplicity of the language, which eschewed formal daring (i.e., pretentiousness) in favor of a lyrical plainness that brought to mind Robert Penn Warren. I also appreciated the blunt-force of the message. There is very little subtlety here. Instead, it is a parable, filled with obvious symbolism and rife with meanings. Steinbeck does not try to hide his message; he is not endeavoring to get you to spend the rest of your days attempting to translate the runes.

This summer, I decided to test my recollection with a reread, while also consuming another bona fide classic. Coming on the heels of Les Misérables, the 528-page Okie epic felt practically brisk.

A summary of The Grapes of Wrath is incredibly straightforward (which was probably another reason I appreciated this as a student). It opens with Tom Joad on his way home from prison, where he has served four years for manslaughter. The home he finds, however, is changing fast. Dry weather is destroying the crops, and corporate-owned tractors are driving off the tenant farmers. Soon enough, Tom and the Joad family (Pa and Ma; Granpa and Granma; Uncle John; brothers Al, Noah, and Winfield; and sisters Rose of Sharon and Ruthie), along with former preacher Jim Casy, hop in a beat-up old truck and hit Route 66. In their journey to California, and their encounters once they arrive, we experience themes – the white working class; economic inequality; migration – that seem as relevant as ever.

Perhaps the most striking thing about The Grapes of Wrath (which is otherwise proudly straight-down-the-middle), is its use of intercalary chapters. It is a structure that can possibly determine – on its own – your reaction to Steinbeck’s opus. The intercalary chapters are cutaway scenes that are inserted throughout the central narrative. They have nothing to do with the Joad family whatsoever and consist of descriptions of the weather; vignettes between unrelated characters; and towards the end of the novel, a fierce denunciation of merciless profiteering:

The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

As you might have guessed already, I am fine with these chapters. In fact, some of them I really liked. One clever chapter, for instance, is told in stream-of-conscious style from the perspective of a used car salesman as he gulls the hicks and rubes who wander onto his lot. Of course, one can view this quite differently, as mere filler that needlessly swells an otherwise spare storyline. I will acknowledge that it is an arguable point. Yet in adding these sections, Steinbeck is able to create the larger context through which the Joad family is moving, adding a mythic overlay to their journey, making it into a modernized version of westward pioneers in their covered wagons.

For me, the most impressive thing about Steinbeck’s writing is his uncanny and immersive powers of description. When he paints a scene, he fills out the canvas, all the way to the edges. You know what a thing looks like; how the heat feels; what sound the wind is making:

A gentle wind followed by rain clouds, driving them northward, a wind that softly clashed the drying corn. A day went by and the wind increased, steady, unbroken by gusts. The dust from the roads fluffed up and spread out and fell on the weeds beside the fields, and fell into the fields a little way. Now the wind grew strong and hard and it worked at the rain crust in the corn fields. Little by little the sky was darkened by the mixing dust, and the wind felt over the earth, loosened the dust, and carried it away. The wind grew stronger. The rain crust broke and the dust lifted up out of the fields and drove gray plumes into the air like sluggish smoke. The corn threshed the wind and made a dry, rushing sound. The finest dust did not settle back to earth now, but disappeared into the darkening sky…

The characters are admittedly archetypes, which is a fancy way of saying they are built from the feet-up with clichés. Still, Steinbeck draws everyone, even side characters like Uncle John, with great vividness. The lodestar of the group is Ma, fierce and tough as a cob, willing to do anything to keep the family together, and imbued with a pragmatic wisdom:

“Ain't you thinkin’ what’s it gonna be like when we get there?” [Al asked]. “Ain't you scared it won’t be nice like we thought?”

“No,” [Ma] said quickly. “No, I ain't. You can’t do that. I can’t do that. It’s too much – livin’ too many lives. Up ahead they’s a thousan’ lives we might live, but when it comes, it’ll on’y be one…”

One of the ways you know an author has done a good job with a character is when you feel yourself hating him or her with great passion. In that regard, Steinbeck also succeeds, as selfish Al, senseless Winfield, whining Rose of Sharon, and hopeless Ruthie all drove me nuts. Now, you might say that’s the bulk of the cast. That is correct. Things are helped along, however, by a lot of witty dialogue, ribald humor (including a couple Tom Joad penis jokes), and genuinely tense confrontations.

(There is also the general implication that human beings, on occasion, engage in sexual relations, a fact that caused at least one contemporary critic to label this “pornography.” It is not, dear reader, pornography).

The Grapes of Wrath has always been attended by controversy. Some of it stems from the aforementioned earthiness. More of it comes from Steinbeck’s alleged politics. The charge, as is often the case if someone gives the free market the side-eye, is that Steinbeck was espousing Communism. Certainly, he was a pro-labor leftist, and accordingly showed some sympathy with the cause. But Steinbeck really tried to avoid being pigeonholed into one ideology. At the end of the day, he was interested in people, and the only theory that he delineates with any kind of coherence is the belief in the power of people working together.

To be sure, there is within these pages a critique of capitalism and the way it – in its purest form – can wring a person’s life for a bigger margin of profit. This came from an honest place, as Steinbeck covered migrant workers during the Great Depression as a journalist. He went to Hoovervilles and government camps. He collected the stories. His sympathies were with the worker and their mistreatment served as the wellspring of his anger. Near the end of The Grapes of Wrath, when he finally unleashes a barrage at unrestrained corporate capitalism, it still feels raw, eighty years after it was published.

Steinbeck believed a revolution was coming. Ultimately, he was wrong about the shape history was taking. Perhaps he misread the tea leaves. More likely, the sudden explosion of the Second World War, which created millions of jobs, cut the revolution off at the knees.

(The irony is that the Joad family, derided by Californians as “Reds,” are innately conservative people who were intent on avoiding government handouts. After Pearl Harbor, they likely found decent defense industry jobs and got Ma that white house she was always dreaming on. Heck, the next generation probably voted for Reagan. Commies, indeed!).

Unpacking the controversies and the politics and the symbolism and even the timelessness are beside the point. What makes The Grapes of Wrath a great novel is that it transports you into a fully-realized world, with fully-realized characters. When I finished the final page (even with its whacky ending), the story did not end. I continued to think about the characters, to imagine where they might go next. And even when I stopped actually thinking about them, I still remembered them.

It has been twenty years since I read this last, and upon reading it again, it struck me that I had never forgotten it in the first place.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
17 reviews105 followers
June 12, 2008
*Review contains a partial spoiler*

If you read enough reviews, you'll notice that most of the people who gave this book 1 or 2 stars had to read the book for a high school class. Most of the 4 and 5 star ratings came from those who read it as adults. I recommend listening to those who read it as adults.

Many people hate the ending, but I thought it was great. Creepy? Yes, but there was an immense amount of beauty and generosity in that creepy little ending. At one point in the story, Ma tol' Rosasharn that it ain't all about her (most high school kids think everything is all about them, which is probably one reason they couldn't enjoy this book or most other classics they are forced to read). Realizing this at the very end made Rosasharn crack her first smile in ages (at least that's my take on the mysterious smile). I wasn't disappointed in the lack of closure at the end, because the closure came in the middle when Ma said, "Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out. But we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people." So you know they will be fine whether life continues to be a struggle or not. They will be better off than the rich man with the million acres they talked about - "If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it 'cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he's poor in hisself, there ain't no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an' maybe he's disappointed that nothin' he can do'll make him feel rich." Another good quote is "I'm learnin' one thing good...If you're in trouble or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones." I saw a special on 20/20 around Christmas time about how the lower class are more generous overall than the middle and upper class, so this still applies today. Would anyone like my savings account? I think I'm going to give poverty a shot : )
Profile Image for Maede.
287 reviews412 followers
March 18, 2022
انقدر تاثیر این کتاب روی من عمیق بود، ریویو طولانی شد. اگر با دیدن تعداد پاراگراف‌ها دارید بیخیالش میشید (که حق دارید!) فقط همین رو بگم که
خوشه‌های خشم رو بخوانید

کتاب‌های داستانی معمولی، اصولاً حیوانات خانگی رام‌شده‌ای هستند که دندان‌هایشان رو به شما نشان نمیدن و کشان کشان شما رو به دنیای وحشی نمی‌برند. اما خوشه‌های خشم داستانیه که دندان‌هاش به خونتون آغشته‌ میشه[گاردین]. داستان ساده و تلخه. اُکی‌هایی (مهاجران اکلاهما) که به سمت باغ‌های میوه‌ی کالیفرنیا راه افتادند و در تلاش برای یافتن سرزمین موعود، چه زجرها که نکشیدند. خانواده جود، یکی از هزاران خانواده‌ای بودند که از زمینی که در اون متولد شده بودند رانده شدند و دوازده نفر، سوار بر ماشینی قدیمی به سمت غرب کوچ کردند. در نهایت، بدبختی و فلاکت تنها چیزیه که نصیب این خانواده و هزاران مهاجر دیگه شد

بدبختی در دل بدبختی

:داستان دو پس‌زمینه‌ی تاریخی مهم داره

رکود بزرگ The Great Depression .۱
با سقوط بازار سهام در سال ۱۹۲۹ و رکود اقتصادی آمریکا، بانک‌ها به هر راهی متصول شدند تا ضررهای خود رو جبران کنند. از آنجا که یکی کردن زمین‌ها و برداشت محصول با تراکتور از لحاظ اقتصادی سود بیشتری داشت، بانک‌ها کشاورزان کوچک که با قرض و وام زمین‌هاشون رو به بانک باخته بودند رو بیرون کردند و باعث ایجاد یک مهاجرت بزرگ از شرق به غرب شدند

کاسه‌ی خاک Dust bowl .۲
از ابتدای دهه ۱۹۳۰، دشت‌های جنوبی آمریکا دچار طوفان‌های شدید خاک و خشکسالی شدند که باعث مرگ انسان‌ها و دام شد و همچنین محصولات کشاورزی از دست رفتند. این شرایط، تاثیرات کمرشکن رکود اقتصادی رو تشدید کرد و خانواده‌های کشاورز به امید شرایط بهتر مجبور به ترک زمین‌های خود شدند

بحث‌برانگیزِ خوب یا بد؟

خوشه‌های خشم احتمالاً بحث‌برانگیزترین و نقد شده‌ترین رمان قرن بیست هست. چنین آثاری اصولاً جنگ‌های کتابی ایجاد می‌کنند و کتاب‌هایی در دفاع و کتاب‌هایی برای تخریبشون نوشته میشه و این دقیقاً اتفاقیه که برای این اثر افتاد. مردم کالیفرنیا و اکلاهما از نحوه‌ی تصویر شدن در این کتاب گله داشتند و به دروغ‌پراکنی متهمش کردند. سرمایه‌داران و سیاستمداران شک نداشتند که این داستان چیزی جز پروپاگاندای کمونیستی نیست و البته که به خاطر تفاسیر نامتعارف از مسیحیت و الفاظ زشت به مذاق محافظه‌کاران هم خوش نمی‌آمد. امتحان اصلی کتاب‌ها اما، گذر زمانه. با فاصله گرفتن از زمان رکود اقتصادی و پیوستن این ماجراها به تاریخ، مردم با دید بازتری به این داستان نگاه کردند و مجبور شدند با حقیقت مواجه بشن، اینجا بود که مخاطبان بیشتری روایت کتاب رو پذیرفتند

کل و جز

کتاب فصل‌بندی متفاوتی داره. تقریباً یک فصل در میان داستان خانواده جود قطع میشه و نویسنده سعی می‌کنه تصویر بزرگتری از رویدادها رو ترسیم کنه‌. البته با اینکه جودها در این فصل‌ها حضور ندارند، در حقیقت با همون مسائل بعدا رو به رو میشن. اگر کتاب فقط با فصل‌های کلی نوشته می‌شد، تصور دردهایی که ازش صحبت می‌کنه سخت می‌شد و اگر فقط از مشکلات جودها می‌خوندیم، شاید فراموش می‌کردیم که این خانواده فقط مشتی از خروارها بودند

از من به ما

بخشی از فلسفه اشتاین‌بک که از مارکس تأثیر گرفته، در مورد قدرت جمع در مقابل ضعف فرده. تمام کاراکترهای اصلی رشد شخصیتی‌ای در همین راستا دارند. تام جود، شخصیت اصلی داستان در ابتدای کتاب بسیار خودمحوره و به سرعت عصبانی میشه. ما جود، مادر خانواده، در فصل‌های ابتدایی به هیچکس جز خانواده خودش فکر نمی‌کنه. اما هر دو بعد از تجربه‌ی مصیبت‌های بسیار، به مرور فراتر از خودشون رو می‌بینند و سعی می‌کنند به هر نحو به مهاجران دیگر هم کمک کنند. مادر در حالی که خودشون غذای زیادی ندارند، به بچه‌های گرسنه کمی غذا میده و تام در انتها بزرگترین تصمیم برای پیوستن به جمع معترضین رو می‌گیره
اما بزرگترین تغییر از فردگرایی به از خودگذشتگی برای «رُزاشارن» خواهر باردار تام اتفاق می‌افته که با همسر جوانش و سری پر از آرزوهای شیرین این سفر رو شروع می‌کنه. کم‌کم واقعیت روی سیاهش رو به رزاشارن نشان میده و هر روز بخشی از رویاش رو از دست میده. در نهایت این دختر جوان در صفحات نهایی کتاب، مظهر طرز فکر اشتاین‌بک میشه

"زن‌ها راحت‌تر تغییر می‌کنند"

این جواب مادر به پدر خانوادست، وقتی که مرد از قدرت این زن برای مدیریت و کنترل اوضاع سخت در تعجبه. نقش مادر خانواده جود در این داستان و رشد شخصیتش از جذاب‌ترین بخش‌ها بود. داستان به وضوح در جامعه‌ی مردسالار اوایل قرن بیستم در حال رخ دادنه. در ابتدای داستان می‌بینیم که مردان تصمیم‌گیرنده‌های اصلی برای سفر پیش رو هستند و حتی زنان اجازه‌ی نظر دادن ندارند. اما در طول کتاب با سخت شدن شرایط و مواجهه با مصیبت‌ها، این مادر خانوادست که کنترل اوضاع رو به دست می‌گیره و تصمیمات نهایی رو برای خانواده می‌گیره. مادر که هدفی جز زنده و در کنار هم نگه داشتن خانواده‌اش نداره، در مقابل این تغییر بزرگ نمی‌شکنه و با قدرتش سفر رو پیش می‌بره

دردِ آشنا

اشتاین‌بک خودش در یکی از مزرعه‌های کالیفرنیا به دنیا آمد و در اون‌ها کار کرد. قبل از انتشار این کتاب از وضعیت مشقت‌بار کمپ‌های مهاجران برای روزنامه می‌نوشت، به طور مداوم ازشون بازدید می کرد و حتی با مهاجران همسفر می‌شد. تمام این‌ها مقدماتی برای نوشتن این کتاب بود. به قول خودش نویسنده تنها در مورد چیزی می‌تونه خوب بنویسه که تحسینش می‌کنه و از نظرش در اون زمان چیزی تحسین برانگیزتر از شجاعت مردم فقیر نبود

انگلیسی با ترجمه؟ کتاب صوتی چی؟

خیلی توصیه می‌کنم اگر می‌تونید کتاب رو حتماً انگلیسی بخونید. نحوه دیالوگ نویسی اشتاین ‌بک خاصه و تمام مکالمات با لهجه و سبک خاص گفتار مردم ایالت‌های مختلف آمریکا در آن بازه زمانی نوشته شده. من همزمان نسخه صوتی رو گوش کردم و از روی کتاب خواندم. به چند دلیل این روش عالی بود. اول اینکه با تمرکز و سرعت بالاتری کتاب رو خواندم و با اجرای فوق‌العاده گوینده، خواندن جملات با لهجه بسیار آسان‌تر شد

و اما این جمله‌ایه که کتاب رو برام خلاصه می کنه


سه تا از بهترین مقالات
the guardian

Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 19, 2022
The Grapes of Wrath is the kind of book that pulls you in and refuses to let go.

There’s just something completely gripping about the way the narrative begins and the way each sentence is put together, it pulls and pulls with its expertly rendered descriptions that do wonders at capturing a landscape and a people undergoing great change. I didn’t want to stop reading, but I also took the time to savour each chapter because I knew that I could only read this for the first time once. So, I stretched it out, I made it last longer than I wanted to, and for me this is one of the surest signs that I was reading a truly great novel.

There’s so much to talk about here. There’s so much brilliance to discuss and so many themes, characters and motifs that warrant reflection. But I want to keep it simple. I want to talk about the things I liked most about the writing. Firstly, I like the naturalness of it. I like the way Steinbeck’s words felt authentic and real. Now let me explain, he does wonders at capturing the essence of time and the ever-changing nature of it. And he is also remarkably talented when it comes to capturing the bigger picture.

It would be easy to talk about the plot here and what pushes the story forward, though that is just half of the power the writing possesses. Steinbeck interposes his narrative with chapters that capture the heart of a nation: they capture the essence of America and the great American dream. They help to weave together a sense of collective consciousness that establish exactly what the characters are feeling against the backdrop of the Great Depression. He is setting the scene in a way that creates a sense of what the characters and people of this time were experiencing on a large scale. And its intoxicating. It’s a storytelling device that brought the novel to life in an incandescent way.

Aside from this, reading The Grapes of Wrath from an ecocritical perspective is quite rewarding. Above all it is a novel of migration, of discovering new landscapes after mass crop death: it is a novel of changing environments and changing circumstances. It’s also about ecology, about man’s ability to continuously affect his environment in largely detrimental ways. And because of this there is a stress on social community, on working together and learning to coexist and fit into the ecosystem and society at large.

Consider me thoroughly and completely impressed. Now I knew how great Steinbeck was from reading Of Mice and Men but I never really liked the sound of any of his other novels enough to pick one up. They just didn’t sound very interesting to me, but this appeared on a list of eco-fiction reads so I was quite curious to see how it fit the genre. And it seems to me this (important) aspect of the novel is a little overlooked, though (admittedly) there are many other significant themes to consider that do dominate the narrative and take centre stage.

More Steinbeck for me in the future!

You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for María.
144 reviews3,093 followers
October 9, 2016
Me ha encantado. Ganadora del Pulitzer en 1940 (no me extraña nada) y terriblemente polémica. Con la industrialización masiva de la agricultura, sus enormes costos e inversiones, millones de agricultores quedaron en la más absoluta ruina. Un drama sobre la emigración, la miseria, la explotación humana. La eterna búsqueda de la felicidad (¿no vamos todos tras ella?) y el paraíso, el edén; en este caso California. Una tierra de la que supuestamente mana leche y miel. Pero la familia Joad, igual de tozuda que la tortuga simbólica que aparece varias veces, se da de bruces con la realidad. Después de un viaje plagado de obstáculos California no es lo que esperaban. ¿Y dónde está el sueño americano? Aunque quiero dejarlo claro, esta novela no es un "panfleto comunista" como la tildaron muchos en su momento. Es un libro que habla sobre los derechos fundamentales de los seres humanos: comida, un techo, trabajo. La familia Joad solo busca trabajo y vivir en una casita humilde. El viaje no solo afecta físicamente a los personajes, sino que remueve sus conciencias. Especial mención a la Madre (con mayúsculas) pues es el pilar de la familia. Los mantiene unidos, sabe que solo se tienen a ellos mismos y aguanta cualquier cosa sin derrumbarse. No deja que en su rostro se refleje ni la preocupación ni el agotamiento, tirando de absolutamente todos los miembros de la familia. El final se cierra con broche de oro mediante un gesto que mezcla miseria y esperanza.
Profile Image for سـارا.
248 reviews240 followers
April 6, 2020
خوشه‌ های خشم‌ یکی از عجیب ترین تجربه‌های خوندنم بود. صد صفحه ابتدایی به شدت کند، خسته کننده و سخت گذشت. اما داستان از جایی به بعد روند بی نظیری رو طی کرد به شکلی که در صفحه‌ی انتهایی احساس میکردم بعد از مدت‌ها یک شاهکار خوندم.
«جان اشتاین بک» بازتاب بخش مهمی از تاریخ آمریکا و رکود اقتصادی پس از جنگ جهانی اول رو در زندگی خانواده‌ای کشاورز از اهالی ایالت اوکلاهما بیان میکنه. خانواده ای که روزهای سختی رو سپری می کنند تا بتونند جایی برای زندگی کردن و غذایی برای خوردن داشته باشند. به قدری اتفاقات و شخصیت ها شفاف روایت شده بودند که احساس میکردم در کنار خانواده‌ی جود زندگی میکنم و جزئی از اونها شدم و بنظرم این قدرت روایت به شدت کمیاب و فوق العاده است.
صفحه‌ی پایانی کتاب با حادثه ای تمام میشه که قطعا به یاد موندنیه و تا مدت‌ها از ذهنتون بیرون نمیره‌...
Profile Image for Jesse.
105 reviews20 followers
October 31, 2022
It's the 1930s, the great depression is in full swing, the dust bowl is killing farms off all across the midwest, and Pa and Ma Joad are doing the most American thing you can do, loading up the family in the car for a great cross-country road trip. I mean, what else are you supposed to do when the bank kicks you off your land and runs over your house with a tractor?

I live for books that make you feel. Books that make you cry. Books that stick with you. Books that you find yourself thinking about throughout the day. Books that make you neglect your screaming children to finish because you can't wait to see what happens. John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath is one of those books!

The Joad family, having been run off their crop-share farm to make way for more profits for the bank, travel to California after having seen a handbill promising high wages and lots of work. Tragedy strikes multiple times along the road, but they make it to the "paradise," which is California. But what they find when they get there is not as promised.

Tom Joad, our hero ex con. Defender of family, freedom, and fairness. I don't think I've ever liked a character as much as Tom. Even with all his flaws and imperfections, he is absolutely amazing.

Do yourself a favor and read this. It's a classic for a reason!
Profile Image for Debbie W..
762 reviews570 followers
February 11, 2022
Why I chose to read this book:
1. This book has always intrigued me ever since I was a kid, seeing it on my parents' bookshelf, so I added it to my WTR list about two years ago;
2. I pushed it up that List after reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah a few months ago (I highly recommend her novel for the atmospheric descriptions of the unrelenting dust storms); and,
3. February is "Classics Month" for me!

Note: This book may appeal to readers who have some background knowledge of the Great Depression, specifically of the Dust Bowl and migration of American farmers to California.


1. The character-development in this novel is its strong suit! As I traveled along with the Joad family, migrant farmers (Okies) from the Dust Bowl to the Land of Milk and Honey, I cheered for Ma Joad and her no-nonsense attitude and shook my head in frustration over son, Al's one-track mind. I was awestruck by the times they gladly helped out others, even though they had very little of their own to share. Likeable or not, if you were living in close quarters with another family for several months, their personalities would grate on your nerves as well;
2. Such descriptive realism! I could vividly picture every scene and appreciated the authentic dialogue; and,
3. If you prefer <300-page books, then don't read this novel! The first 200 pages focuses on the actual journey from Oklahoma to California, whereas the final 200 pages depicts this family's life in California. Although the plot is slow-going, I savored all the successes and issues they encountered along the way.

1. Although Steinbeck gives a detailed account of a typical migrant's journey to California and the hardships awaiting them there, I wish he wrote a more descriptive setting re: the dust storms these Midwestern families faced; and,
2. What was Steinbeck thinking with that ending? I know that several readers really liked that part, but I have issues when a strong realistic story strays into massive symbolism in the last paragraph! I don't think Steinbeck understands women that well if he thinks any woman would do what Rose of Sharon did! Eww! 🤢 To me, her actions just didn't make sense!

Overall, I had empathy for the hopes and dreams the Joads had along their journey and understood that when those hopes were dashed, it only led to despair and anger (wrath). Unfortunately, this story has been, and continues to be, relevant today.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book936 followers
September 21, 2021
Blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, storms, locusts, darkness, and death. These were the plagues the Lord clamped onto Egypt (Exodus, 7-10). And these plagues triggered the migration of the people of Israel into the wilderness. After spending forty years in the desert, they finally reached the “land of milk and honey”. More plights and perils were awaiting them there.

Some three thousand years later, on another continent across the ocean, a people of farmers went through a similar ordeal once again. And this is how John Steinbeck elevated the story of the impoverished sharecroppers from the Dust Bowl region during the Great Depression to the level of an epic voyage, comparable to the Exodus or the Odyssey. Like the Israelites of yore, these Oklahomans were forced, by drought and economic hardship, to leave their land and travel down the Road 66 to a new “promised land”, a new Canaan named California.

The Grapes of Wrath is a re-interpretation of the Bible in yet another way. A few characters are, indeed, sometimes very explicitly, Christlike figures. Compare Casy’s “You don’ know what you’re a-doin’.” (Penguin Modern Classics paperback, p. 386) with Luke 23,34. Compare Tom’s “I’ll be there” (p. 419) with Matthew 18,20. Even the title is a quote from the Apocalypse of John 14,19. And the whole novel is the story of a people looking for redemption and a new land, which they may or may not find on this Earth…

Further still, one could argue that Steinbeck is also retelling some of the canonical works of 19th-century literature. In a sense, The Grapes of Wrath is the American version of Les Misérables: Tom Joad is the Jean Valjean of the New World, and the corporate farmers of 1930s California are just as awful as the police and army of 1830s Paris. In brief, Steinbeck’s novel is the paragon of the “Great American Novel”; a multi-layered narrative that lends itself, like the Bible, to a typological reading on different levels.

At any rate, despite its epic or mythical dimension, Steinbeck’s writing is anything but lofty. On the contrary, it conveys people’s mindset and daily struggles, their constant concern for simple material things: the state of disrepair of their car and how they manage to fix a flat tire, the need to put bread on the table and the recipe they use to make fried dough, the toilet flush and lack of loo roll. The narrator describes these things with meticulous precision – a technique typical of survival literature, from Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe to McCarthy’s The Road. More could be said about the characterisation and the deft and consistent use of dialect and turns of phrases of the people of Oklahoma – this also harks back to Mark Twain and William Faulkner’s novels.

The Grapes of Wrath is also, among many other things, a compelling political manifesto. The novel’s structure oscillates between classic narrative chapters (the Joads’ story) and discursive, slightly outraged lectures whereby Steinbeck examines the causes and effects of the Southern migration (from a Marxist point of view). Namely, the rising mechanisation and automation of agricultural labour and the constant push for higher corporate profits and lower individual wages.

In short, the terrifying “pillars of fire” of ancient Israel are now replaced by the dehumanising “invisible hand” of modern capitalism: a vast network of socio-economic forces that engirdles the whole of Western civilisation. In the end, forced migrations, people trying to flee wars, persecution, deprivation and starvation, unsanitary refugee camps, combined exploitation and hatred of incoming migrants, viewed as subhuman in their new “land of milk and honey” – all this is as real as ever today, in many parts of the world. All of which makes Steinbeck’s novel as essential as ever.

The 1940 film adaptation is, for the most part, faithful to Steinbeck’s plot and dramatic tone, except for the final section – notably, the bleak and slightly disturbing motif of the Caritas Romana at the end of the novel is absent from the film. Nonetheless, it is one of John Ford’s finest movies. Steinbeck’s novel also influenced many other works of fiction, from Stephen King’s The Stand to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
Profile Image for Olga.
182 reviews53 followers
April 20, 2023
The author writes about the causes of the terrible suffering of the thousands and thousands of tenant farmers who were forced to leave their homes and head towards the mythical Paradise (California) which turned out to be Hell. It was happening at the times of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the Unites States in the 1930s. Those causes were the natural forces, modern technology and the ugly face of capitalism (the greedy exploiters and the voiceless victims of exploitation). (I did not know Steinbeck was so anti-capitalist and pro-communist).
On the other hand, it is a gripping story of a family in their endless and often deadly quest for a better life.
And, to me, of all the members of the family, Ma Joad seems the most important one. She is not only a strong and brave woman, she is also like a glue that keeps all the family together in the new, dire circumstances. Having come from the patriarchal society, she becomes a true leader for the whole family for rest of the story.
'Ma was heavy, but not fat; thick with child-bearing and work. She wore a loose Mother Hubbard of gray cloth in which there had once been colored flowers, but the color was washed out now, so that the small flowered pattern was only a little lighter gray than the background. The dress came down to her ankles, and her strong, broad, bare feet moved quickly and deftly over the floor. Her thin, steel-gray hair was gathered in a sparse wispy knot at the back of her head. Strong, freckled arms were bare to the elbow, and her hands were chubby and delicate, like those of a plump little girl. She looked out into the sunshine. Her full face was not soft; it was controlled, kindly. Her hazel eyes seemed to have experienced all possible tragedy and to have mounted pain and suffering like steps into a high calm and a superhuman understanding. She seemed to know, to accept, to welcome her position, the citadel of the family, the strong place that could not be taken. And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials. But better than joy was calm. Imperturbability could be depended upon. And from her great and humble
position in the family she had taken dignity and a clean calm beauty. From her position as healer, her hands had grown sure and cool and quiet; from her position as arbiter she had become as remote and faultless in judgment as a goddess. She seemed to know that if she swayed the family shook, and if she ever really deeply wavered or despaired the family would fall, the family will to function would be gone.'
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
2,036 reviews776 followers
September 12, 2021
A classic by John Steinbeck during the depression era. The story follows the Joad family’s journey from the hardship in Oklahoma to California looking for a better opportunity.

I was very reluctant to give it a try after reading reviews that it's a slow story. To my surprise, I listened to the second half twice. It was that good and the ending was very moving. I must disclose this is a BBC audio production and it feels like listening to a classic story on the radio. This is a version with 3 narrators and is 2 hours and 46 mins long.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews606 followers
September 23, 2019
I’m listening to the Audiobook. It’s sooooo good!!!!

I’ve read the book. I’ve seen the stage production, but I never listen to the audiobook.... and the narrator’s are so so terrific!!!!
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