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The Cause of the Dust Bowl and the Effect on Agriculture

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The Cause of the Dust Bowl and the Effect on Agriculture

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  • October 18, 2011
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The Cause of the Dust Bowl and the Effect on Agriculture
In the early 1930s, a severe drought struck the region, drying the upper layers of already extremely loose topsoil. Heavy windstorms declined, carrying the dust in thick black clouds. These black clouds were so dark that livestock were sometimes fooled into thinking that night had come. The dust collected in huge drifts, sometimes covering homes and farms, and once productive farmland became dry. Citizens of the affected regions started referring to their home as the “Dust Bowl,” and they quickly began to experience severe economic difficulties. The Depression economy had already caused serious problems for many farmers, and the need for workable crops led to tons of foreclosures by the banks. Conditions drove many groups of farmers to become migrant workers. The devastation of the dust bowl and the outcome it had is the major point in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath. “Now the wind grew strong and hard and it worked at the rain crust in the corn fields. Little by little the sky was darkened by the mixing dust, and carried away. The wind grew stronger. The rain crust broke and the dust lifted up out of the fields and drove gray plumes into the air like sluggish smoke. The corn threshed the wind and made a dry, rushing sound. The finest dust did not settle back to earth now, but disappeared into the darkening sky.”(Steinbeck). It is set during the Great Depression and goes into what we call the dust bowl. The novel focuses on the Joads, a poor family of sharecroppers driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries. Steinbeck moved through the joads story, he saw that the story alone didn’t capture the entire picture he wanted. He explained the background of the dust bowl, who could have ownership in California, and the highway that leads from Oklahoma to California. John Steinbeck wanted to get a better emotional...