Grapes of Wrath Historical Accuracy

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By writing his novel “Grapes of Wrath”, John Steinbeck was ready to receive harsh criticism. His novel showed his obvious support for the poor and this gave the impression that he was an anti-capitalist and communist. Many people could argue that Steinbeck’s story was bias by siding with the working class. However, once a reader goes behind the scenes of Grapes of Wrath and dives deeper into Steinbeck’s novel, one would find that Steinbeck absolutely knew what he was talking about. John Steinbeck travelled with the Oakies to research before writing the “Grapes of Wrath”. He lived with an Oakie farm family and made the journey to California along side them. By writing this novel, Steinbeck "became the champion of the working class." John Steinbeck wrote this book towards the tail end of the Great Depression. During this time, agricultural prices were rising at an alarming rate and farmers were going into debt because of their need for more land. The demand for farming made farmers cultivate their land as much as they could and often this would lead to overcultivation. “The land was over farmed and not properly cared for, depriving the soil of organic nutrients and increasing exposure to erosion.” Of course, then the Dust Bowl came. As we see in the very beginning of Grapes of Wrath, “"Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes." The dust bowl was a time of severe dust storms that devastated crops and left farmers, especially small farm farmers. Before the storm even hit, small farmers were already in debt for buying more land and tractors. The dust killed the crops, leaving the farmers unable to pay back their debt and unable to support their families.
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