As a novel that highlights the plight of the Okies during the Dust Bowl, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath promotes an anti-business theme. There are many instances in the book where this theme is evident. Such instances include times when the Joads and others suffer as a result of business interests. Due to the hardships of many people during this period and a sentiment among many that business and wealthy people were to blame for their troubles, it seems that it was only natural for Steinbeck to write a novel that expresses the anti-business emotions of the people.
Steinbeck makes his first denunciation of business in chapter two. When Tom asks the truck driver for a ride, the driver complains that his company restricts him from picking up hitchhikers. “Owners don't want us to pick up nobody. So we got to set here an' just skin her along 'less we want to take a chance of getting fired like I just done with you,” (Steinbeck 9) the driver lamented. In this situation Steinbeck makes the business look unsympathetic and harsh.
In chapter five the theme continues, but this time with a bank. The Joads and other families are forced to confront bank representatives who say they will have to repossess the land. But the representatives gripe, “We're sorry. Its not us. Its the monster. The bank isn't like a man” (Steinbeck 33). These assertions by men who work for the bank illustrate Steinbeck's argument that businesses are malicious.
Chapter seven features the same anti-business argument through a dubious car lot. The car lot owner is a crook who sells low quality cars, often with many problems, for unjust prices. “Get 'em out in a jalopy. Sock it to 'em! They took our time” (Steinbeck 61).Here...