Social And Economic Problems Of America In 1930s In The Grapes Of Wrath

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The Grapes of Wrath is a story of family named Joad’s written by John Steinbeck. In the book, John Steinbeck mention the struggles faced by Joad’s family by travelling from their hometown Sallisaw, Oklahoma to California for finding a better life. They had a family of five, grandparents, parents and son. Author mentioned that they packed everything they needed in a truck and started travelled don’t knowing what they will encounter via route. The story line is created from the point of view happened in 1930’s.

They started their journey because during 1930 dust bowl happened. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms which damaged the land and destroyed fertility of agriculture field in American and Canadian prairies (Dusk Bowl). It also damaged Sallisaw. Farmers over there don’t have money, so they borrowed money from banks and putted their lands as a guarantee. As Dust Bowl happened, land became useless and farmers don’t have money to repay it back to banks. Banks took there land instead of money. Joad family also one of the farmers who took money from bank and putted their land as a guarantee. As Dusk Bowl hits Sallisaw, they became helpless as they can’t grow anything on land. And as they have loan on their head, bank took their land and occupied. As they have no choice, they went to tom uncle’s place and then started moving to California.

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They choose California because California is a fertile land and they thought they might find jobs over there. As they started moving to California, on there first stop they find Wilson’s family whose car is broke down. As Wilson’s family saw that grandpa is ill, they offered Joad family a tent. But after some time, grandpa got more sick and died. Instead of tent, Joad family helped Wilson to fix their car and decided to go on journey together. As the time went, grandma also started feeling sick because of grandpa’s dead. As both families reach the desert bordering California, Wilson’s wife fell sick and Joad family has to moved forward leaving Wilson’s family back. As they started moving forward, Grandma’s health became crucial. Halfway through the desert, grandma died. But Joad’s wife didn’t tell anyone, as she thought that telling in the middle of the desert will not good and she kept it from everyone. Once they travelled desert, Joad’s wife told everyone that Grandma died.

As they reach the end of desert. They buried grandma and went to look for a shelter. After some time, they found a camp. As Tom went to talk to man named Floyd Knowles, he sawed a businessman walking with a policeman to talk about job. When Floyd asked for written paper, policeman made him a criminal. As he went to arrest Floyd, Jim Casy, leader who fights for low wages, saved Floyd and pushed Policeman. After Cop came to consciousness, he arrested Casy and Joad family moved from that place to avoid any difficulties. After some time, they reached a government camp in Weedpatch. In this camp, there are certain people who formed their community to run that place. After spending some days, Joad’s didn’t find any job. After going somewhat farther, they found a place named Tulare. Where they found job in pick peached farm. But wages over there were too low. One day Tom saw the policemen which came up to him before, and somebody shouted Casy is dead and policeman killed him. He attacked policeman and in process his nose is broken, and he became wanted.

Tom escapes from farm and next morning whole family moved out of that place. After some time, they got job in cotton farm, but they must share their work with family called Wainrights. As Tom is wanted, he went to hide in a cave and his mother feed him daily by going to cave. After some time, Tom started to fight back against landowners because they are paying less to people.

As people in California increased, government started to remove migrants. Because people are not getting enough money to feed themselves one time per day also. As people started to claim residency of California, government named them Okies. Called to people who were from northern and southern Plaines.

As stock market crash in 1929, Americans were hugely affected. The most affected people were landowners and farmers. Because they don’t have a livelihood. As banks have the land papers, they don’t want to wait for economy to grow back. They took away all the land from farmers and landowners and took charge. As farmer already grow plants before this, banks cultivated whole farms and took their crops. As the farmer families don’t have much knowledge, they can’t find employment elsewhere. Banks hired farmers who lost their land and made them work on there on field for low wages. As farmers don’t have any choices they worked for low wages.

From my opinion, from this book I can say that the social and economic problems during thirties were worst. As we saw that people lose their lands but there is nobody to help them. Even government can’t help them. Banks were the most superior at that time I can say that, as they took all the lands during Dust Bowl and market crash. And they even forced farmers to work in low wages. New Deal became very useful to the people as president Roosevelt help all the farmers. As soon as he became president, he proposed New Deal and put banks on strike. He encourages people to deposit funds in bank and stop spending. He tried to stop emergency and help to increase stock market and end great depression. From new deal he also wants to create more jobs with proper wages and help people.

Work Citied

  1. “Dust Bowl.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 2 June 2019,
  2. “The Grapes of Wrath.” Chapter 9,
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Social And Economic Problems Of America In 1930s In The Grapes Of Wrath. (2021, September 03). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
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