The Grapes of Wrath This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   One of many ugly truths about America's history is thatpeople were pushed off their land. The most well-known example is the NativeAmericans, but we must not forget another devastating event.

During theGreat Depression, midwestern families were displaced by banks. Homes wererepossessed, and heartless planting machines took the place of wooden plows andthe sweat of men and horses. Families without any place to turn were forced west.Such is the setting of The Grapes of Wrath.

This is the powerful story ofa family's perilous journey west, and the disappointments they encounter. Thisbook is a must-read for everyone; it is truly great.

We meet the maincharacter, Tom Joad, in chapter two. The first chapter is devoted to descriptionsof the land and people as a whole (as is roughly every other chapter in thebook). I used to be convinced that Stephen King was the master of description,but Steinbeck's vivid details reveal tidbits about human nature that merephysical description cannot even hint at. I loved his flowing writing style,which brings landscapes and characters to life while leaving room for theimagination.

But does he actually have anything to say with this wonderfulwriting style? you may ask. The answer: absolutely!

Tom Joad isdefinitely not the personality type you would associate with a convict, but hekilled a man in self-defense in a bar fight. On parole, he and his family preparefor the inevitable trip west after their land is ransacked. Unintentionallybreaking parole by leaving the state, he is running from the law the entire book.

The Joads encounter many trials on their way to California. When theyfinally arrive, they don't find the land of opportunity and wonder they hadexpected. Rather, it is a land of disappointment, with distraught people lookingfor work to put food in the mouths of their children. Through countless strugglesand setbacks, the Joads trudge onward, motivated by want for the necessities oflife: food and shelter.

You may think a book as depressing as this must atleast have a happy ending, with all the problems resolv-ed. Obviously, happyendings don't always happen in real life, and since The Grapes of Wrath lies verynear reality, it doesn't happen here, either. But at the end, disappointment andheartbreak are overshadowed by a glimmer of hope for humankind. The downtroddenhelping the downtrodden is often a beautiful sight to behold, for even in theirsorrow, they are willing to give so much.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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