John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath"

John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath"

John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath"


John Steinbeck

In the 1920s, Americans experienced a period of economic growth and life was full of promise. But on October 24, 1929, the center of finance in the United States, Wall Street, crashed. The economy failed and money lost value rapidly. Shockwaves affected the banking system all over the country. This was the start of the Great Depression, which lasted through the 1930s. During those years, there was less business activity and there was high unemployment.

The southwestern states (including Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas) were suffering from a lack of rain. In these states, the land dried and turned to dust. It was impossible to grow fruit or vegetables. Cattle dropped dead. People did, too. These states became known as the Dust Bowl. Farmers, factory workers, and others traveled west looking for work in California. They filled their cars and trucks with things they needed for the long trip. Hundreds of thousands of people left the Dust Bowl and headed west to California. These people heard that California was the golden state - the land of jobs, green hills, and valleys of fruit trees. They drove thousands of miles in search of work and a better life for their families. They did not know that these promises of jobs were lies.

Along the way, whole families became migrant workers, working hard for very little money. They picked fruit, vegetables, and cotton. The children couldn’t go to school and there wasn’t much food, so their education and health suffered.

Steinbeck’s story of the Joad family’s struggle during the Depression shines a light on this dark period in America’s history...


Text Analysis: Unique words: about 2,300 Total words: about 23,880
Hard words: ain’t, appendix, barn, boxcar, committee, cop, coroner, diner, fellow, fist, folks, handbill, headlight, horizon, migrant, parole, pauper, peach, porch, preacher, ragged, reverend, tenant, tractor, trespass, unit, wage, windshield, wrath, drama, family, historical, non-fiction, society


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