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Grapes of Wrath

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  • Feb. 4, 1997
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Grapes of Wrath Essay

Because of the devastating disaster of the dust bowl, the Joad family was forced to leave their long-time home and find work and a new life elsewhere. They, like many other families, moved to California. 'The land of milk and honey'. The people in the dust bowl imagined California as a haven of jobs where they would have a nice little white house and as much fruit as they could eat. This dream was far from the reality the migrant farmers faced once in California. The dreams, hopes, and expectations the Joads had of California were crushed by the reality of the actual situation in this land of hate and prejudice.

The Joads dream of owning a nice white house and being overwhelmed with fruit was quickly put to end after their first night in California. Ma says, 'But I like to think how nice it's gonna be, maybe, in California. Never cold. An' fruite ever'place, an' people just bein' in the nicest places, little white houses in among the orange trees.' They had been lied to by the handbills and other propaganda that was circulating in the dust bowl region. The growers in California knew that the people of the dust bowl would have to leave their houses because of the crisis. They also knew the more pickers they had the lower they could make their prices. The number of handbills sent out far out numbered the number of jobs available. Many people in the dust bowl were constructing a view of California that was devastatingly false. However most of the people had to go somewhere, and all they knew was agriculture, so the natural thing was to go to the only place in the country at that time that was in peak agricultural condition. This was all true in the case of the Joads. They had no experience with any other kind of lifestyle. They were farmers and they thought that was what they would remain. What they became was job hunters, starving and hungry people, and homeless vagrants. California was no dream land, but the exact opposite. A promised...