Grapes of Wrath

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As the stock market crashed down the American economy at the beginning of the 20th century, it created a tidal wave of destruction that engulfed the entire country. Eventually the storm subsided into heavy clouds that passed, leaving behind a ferocious sun that revealed America's upheaval into the Great Depression. John Steinbeck book, The Grapes of Wrath, illustrates a families journey as they are forced from their farm in Depression-era Oklahoma and set out for California along with thousands of others. Steinbeck portrays three main factors that represent the difficulties "Okies" experienced during the Depression era: oppression, dislocation, and discrimination. The Okies were agricultural workers trapped in an inescapable cycle of oppression. One pressing factor was the unpredictable summer droughts, the sun flared down on the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each (Steinbeck, 3). Depleted soil also weighed heavy on their minds, the land was getting poorer. Cotton kills the land; robs it, sucks all the blood out of it (Steinbeck, 43). Though the weather and soil were pertinent issues in the famers life during the Depression, such issues were only the beginning of their journey. The droughts and soil depletion lead to the Okies dislocation because the tenant system doesn't work anymore. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. You'll have to get off the land (Steinbeck, 45). They were broken from the only home their family knew, from the land they plowed and protected. Grandpa had to kill the Indians, he was born here, and he killed the weeds (Steinbeck, 45). But the Okies didn't allow the eviction from their roots dishevel them, they packed up and moved forward towards California with hope of a new life. Discrimination hit hard once they reached California and the Okies realized that their dream of a California life was exactly just that, California dreaming. They were called Okies

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