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grapes final

grapes final

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Published by jnfurst

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Published by: jnfurst on May 16, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Furst, John-Nicholas
The American Dream in The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck leaves the reader
with much to question, including his purpose for writing the book. Steinbeck
excelled in dramatizing the situations he was trying to portray in The Grapes
of Wrath. One of the most obvious themes throughout the book is the
hostility and resentment between the already established Californians and
the migrant workers moving there. This relationship brings light to the
migrant famer\u2019s quest for the American Dream.

Steinbeck interwove his feelings about poverty, and despair
and their connection to the American Dream throughout the book. There are
multiple examples throughout the book that affirm Steinbeck\u2019s thoughts and
feelings towards the subjects. An example this theme is shown in a corollary
chapter. Along the way to California the Joad's encountered other people that
had already been to California, and were now returning. These
people, like the ragged man with the sunburned face from the road-side
camp had children that died because the wages were too low and the work
was too scarce. This lead to the family not being able to afford food for the
children. [pg. 242 ] This harsh story did not discourage the Joad\u2019s from
continuing course to California.

The theme of cruelty and inhumane treatment from the California
land owners was displayed towards the migrant workers throughout the

novel. Once inside the Californian border the Joad;s stopped by a river. Tom
and Pa find a spot to go swimming where they are joined by two men, a man
and his son, who asked if they may also join them in swimming. After a short
conversation the Joad\u2019s learn these men have already experienced California.
They also tell a story to unlike the other story the man from the road-side
camp described. Their story described the conditions living and working in
California as very uncomfortable.[Page 263] Again the Joad\u2019s do not take the
warning seriously for they are blinded by the idea of the American Dream
and moving west to where everything is perfect. Thus the Joad\u2019s traveled on
where they later meet up with a very dispassionate police officer who treated
them with no respect and who wished they had never come to California.
[Page 274] This was the families\u2019 first hand experience of the general mood
of Californians for the migrant workers like themselves

In the corollary chapter nineteen, the history of California is
described, and through those descriptions we can begin to understand the
Californians view on why they dislike the migrant workers, and how they are
in conflict with their own American Dreams. The land was squatted on by
Americans and the families worked it with much success. The land was so
successful that they only needed to work part of it to stay comfortable. Thus
the desire for the land lessened. This is where the migrant workers come in.
The Californians must have viewed the workers as very much the same way
the Mexican's thought of the Californians when there land was taken over by
squatters. Fearing that history would repeat itself, the Californians who were

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