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Grapes of Wrath2

In John Steinbeck’s epic, The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family is the example of the working class family during the 1930s. The novel depicts the Joad family as they are struggling to move from an infertile farm in Oklahoma to the gold coast of California. They are driven off of their farm by not only the “dust-bowl”, but because they can’t pay the mortgage to the banks, despite their hard work.Work is a very important theme in the book. Steinbeck is describing a family whose livelihood comes from working on the land. This has two meanings. The first describes their jobs as farmers who are literally working on the land to make it produce crops. The second meaning however is much deeper; it describes the actual process that farmers such as the Joads go through on the farm. They “work” the land by cultivating it and treating the soil the right way. They put their own blood, sweat, and tears into the land. In return the land sprouts crops, which they would then sell for money. The land however is destroyed by the dust bowl and the Joads have no place to work. They are skilled only for the farm. This is the first idea that Steinbeck gives about work. He shows a family with a skill, but in a place where the skill had no worth. Al seems to be knowledgeable about fixing cars, but for the most part, the only way that the Joads have, or can survive is as farmers. This is a direct statement on what the Industrial revolution was doing to America in the time period. The jobs on the farm that were done by hand were becoming machine tasks. Steinbeck makes a very blatant statement against the machines that came about and blamed them for much of what happens to the Joads that force them to leave the land. Steinbeck doesn’t only use the machines as the machine that literally forces the Joads off of their farms, but also incorporates the ideas that the big businesses are using the machine to do...

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