Grapes of Wrath

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Adam Karman
7/15/10
Ms. Benson
Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is a novel that depicts the troubles that the Great Depression era family, the Joads, have to face in order to make a living. The Joad family is caught between two colliding cultures, the culture of the Joad’s home state of Oklahoma and the culture of California, the state they have traveled to in order to start a new life. These two cultures are extremely different, and being in this new place (California) has forced the Joads to make relevant changes to the way they expect people, and life, to be. In Oklahoma, the Joad family lived off of farming and has grown used to the ways of the people and the laws of their state. But when the bank took their land and brought the age of the Tractor, “there is little difference between this tractor and a tank (151)” to the Joads. They make the incredibly long trip by car to California. Driving to California and making the frequent stops for gas, groceries, and sleep introduced them to the manner of the people in the states between Oklahoma and California. They are surprised and maybe a little appalled at the treatment they get. They have to realize and accept that the culture of these areas is less friendly than that of Oklahoma. While traveling to California, they experience another change. When Grandpa Joad dies, they realize that they must pay in order to have him buried, or bury him as a pauper. Where they come from, a father has the right to be buried by his son’s hand, and vice versa. Out here, it is illegal to do as such. They cannot afford a burial and they realize that “a man got to do what he got to do (224)” and so they bury him at their campsite, leaving a bottle with a note so they know he died of natural causes. But later on, in California, when Grandma Joad dies, they have to bury her as a pauper because they cannot afford a burial. This is a large change for them as she is the first Joad to be buried a...
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