Depiction of Corrupt Government in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath

Pages: 1 (350 words) Published: January 6, 2014
In his novel The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck demonstrates a corrupt government in which it enforces corrupt law, especially towards the Okies. The joad family experiences this throughout the novel. While in California the Okies discovered a challenge that they never expected, many law enforcement officers were corrupt by the rich money owners and always favored the needs of the land owners, this lead to negligence toward the mistreatment of the Okies. In fact, the police officers would burn down villages of the Okies to separate the groups, so they couldn’t organize and create unions. That was the fear of all the land owners, an organization to regulate wages. Many times the police would not abide by the law themselves. They would make up crimes to incriminate the people that were a threat to them. They were also able to get away with these human rights violations because many people shared the same disgust towards the Okies. Examples:

“The law done it”. Here, Muley is referring to the laws that allowed the bank to take over the land that the farmers and sharecroppers worked on. Payments for this land were delinquent. The court authorized the banks to take possession and kick the tenants out. After the Wallaces offer to help Tom get a job laying pipes with them, and he accepts they arrive at Mr. Thomas, their employer, he explains, "The Association don't like government camps. Can't get a deputy in there. The people make their own laws, I hear, and you can't arrest a man without a warrant. Now if there was a big fight and maybe shooting - a bunch of deputies could go in and clean out the camp"(404). One of the many tips that Floyd Knowles tells Tom Joad is to act “bull-simple” when speaking to the officers so that they would be convinced that Tom and his family weren’t a threat. Ma Joad raises her hand towards a deputy officer, who evicted her from the camp for being an “Okie” and as self defense she went after him an iron cast skillet....
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