Grapes of Wrath Essay

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In The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, the narrator explains how a social issue affected the Joad family. The realistic novel mimics life and offers social commentary too. It presents many windows on real life in Midwest America in the 1930s. Throughout the 1930s, America was trapped in the worst economic era ever—The Great Depression. The Joad family is struggling to find salvation during this tough time period. Because of this, they must travel from Oklahoma to California in order to start a new life. The Great Depression affected everyone in the United States, some people worse than others. Steinbeck uses several different strategies to interpret the social issue during this time period. By using the literary techniques of setting, tone/mood, and dialogue/language, Steinbeck composes a creative commentary on the Great Depression and how it affected the lives of Americans.

One way Steinbeck produces creative commentary is through the use of different settings. The setting is where the story takes place, and in this story, the setting shifts several times as the family travels across the country to California. The story opens with an illustrious description of the setting. Through the description, “A day went by and the wind increased, steady, unbroken by the 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…” (Steinbeck 2), it reveals a horrible event. It sends the Joads and other tenant farmers into despair and into poverty. With their crops ruined, and their entire world covered in dust, farmers like the Joads cannot make do. From the start, the setting reveals the effects of the Great Depression on society. Droughts and lack of production crippled the farmers and economy. As the story progresses, the family moves to Uncle John’s house, which is very unfit for a large number of people. The quote, “…and the house, a square little box, unpainted and bare, and the barn,...
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