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The Grapes of Wrath

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The Grapes of Wrath Cover

ISBN13: 9780140042399
ISBN10: 0140042393
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisons against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots, Steinbeck created a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.

Review:

"The first book I remember that really grabbed me was a book that Miss McGuffey made us read, a book called Tortilla Flat by Steinbeck. When I read it, I really enjoyed the book. So I went to her and said,'I like this.' She was shocked that I would show any interest in what she was making us do. So she said, okay, read this. The next one was, Of Mice and Men. So she sort of fed the Steinbeck books to me. When I read The Grapes of Wrath — we saved that for last — I knew that was a very powerful book. I don't know if it had anything to do with my writing style, or me as a writer, because I wasn't thinking about it back then. It had a lot to do with the way I viewed humanity and the struggles of little people against big people. It was a very important book for me." John Grisham

Review:

"As a high school kid struggling to write fiction, some books meant more than others, and some burst upon me with the power of a thunderbolt. John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath was one of those." Stephen King

Review:

"It is a very long novel, the longest that Steinbeck has written, and yet it reads as though it had been composed in a flash, ripped off a typewriter and delivered to the public as an ultimatum. It is a long and thoughtful novel as one thinks about it. It is a short and vivid scene as one feels it." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[T]here are moments when The Grapes of Wrath reads like an early glimpse of what would become the phenomenon of economic globalization." Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

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LukeH, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by LukeH)
The Grape of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a phenomenal novel. A literary protest that inspired some and infuriated others, The Grapes of Wrath is a book which had an impact in American Literature that is still being felt today. In his novel, Steinbeck discusses the struggles of families forced westward as a result of the Great Depression. As a witness of the poor California living conditions, Steinbeck conveys his disapproval of his surroundings through his story of the Joad family. A classic and a must read, The Grapes of Wrath emphasizes the idea that an event that effects one of us effects us all.
The story for every civilian across the south during the Great Depression of the 1930’s was similar: the drought killed their crops, they couldn’t afford the land, and they migrated west to find work. Their high hopes of living a decent life were crushed upon arriving in California. There was hardly any work and the living conditions were poor. John Steinbeck lived in California at the time and was able to see the suffering of the people firsthand. He wrote The Grapes of Wrath as a protest against the companies that were exploiting the citizens of the southwest region. Using the fictional family of the Joads, Steinbeck depicts the agony endured by thousands of people during the 1930’s.
The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of the Joad family. With their land stripped away, the Joads have no choice but to go on a quest to the west. Consisting of characters with internal battles in the midst of the external trouble, the Joads are an interesting bunch.
The oldest son and main protagonist, Tom Joad, has just been released from prison. Let out on parole, Tom joins his family on his trip out of the state of Oklahoma. Tom runs the risk of getting caught and being sent back to jail, but has no other choice. As Tom says, “It don't take no nerve to do somepin when there ain't nothin' else you can do” (231).
His sister, Rose of Sharon, also is carrying some extra baggage on the trip. In fact, in a quite literal sense. She is pregnant, and doesn’t let anyone forget. She and her husband Connie dream of a new life together in California. More of a burden than a blessing, Rose of Sharon is carted around the countryside with the assistance of Ma Joad.
Ma is the one who keeps the family together. She believes that family comes first and will do anything to keep them unified. What she feels is what the family feels, which is why she does her best to bury thoughts of fear and anguish deep down inside her. The Joad family uses her as a crutch, relying on her for moral support.
A majority of the passengers in the car are members of the Joad family, but a few others have hopped along for the ride. One of these being former preacher Jim Casy. A holy man turned sinful, Casy ponders the human existence on the trip westward. His idea that “all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of” (24) becomes more apparent as the novel progresses. Once a man of many words, he talks less and less as he begins to answer his own questions.
The Joads are the protagonists of the story, but the story is not all about them. The Grapes of Wrath consists of chapters describing the setting through the point of view of people such as a used car salesman or another farmer. These chapters bring the Joads’ story into a broader perspective. This novel isn’t just about them, it is about all of the people who have been fighting to survive the Great Depression.
The Grapes of Wrath is a fantastic social commentary. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in classic American literature or American history. Revolutionary at it’s time, The Grapes of Wrath preserves the attitudes of a culture tarnished by the injustice of the corporate world. Still applicable to our modern society, Steinbeck’s masterpiece reminds us that the voiceless must somehow be heard. It is up to us as individuals to stand as one when injustice impacts our society.
Deeper meanings aside, the book itself is extremely descriptive. At some points I felt it was too descriptive. Nonetheless, Steinbeck’s use of imagery allowed me to picture the sites along Highway 66 as if I was in the truck with the Joad family. It felt as if the characters were real as well. Many characters in the book have an interesting background that adds to the depth of the plot. Although their objective is simple, the path the Joad family takes is by no means easy. I highly suggest reading the novel so you can see with your own eyes the trials and triumphs the Joads as well as thousands of others experienced.
Once you read it, you will understand why it is considered a classic. A novel with a legend that will never die, The Grapes of Wrath will leave a lasting impression on you.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780140042399
Author:
Steinbeck, John
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Demott, Robert
Location:
New York, N.Y., U.S.A.
Subject:
California
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Depressions
Subject:
Migrant agricultural laborers
Subject:
Oklahoma
Subject:
Rural families
Subject:
Labor camps -- California -- Fiction. .
Subject:
Labor camps.
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Viking compass ed.
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Series Volume:
Bd. 3
Publication Date:
1976
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
586
Dimensions:
5 x 7 x 1 in 0.5 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Grapes of Wrath Used Mass Market
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Product details 586 pages Penguin Classics - English 9780140042399 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The first book I remember that really grabbed me was a book that Miss McGuffey made us read, a book called Tortilla Flat by Steinbeck. When I read it, I really enjoyed the book. So I went to her and said,'I like this.' She was shocked that I would show any interest in what she was making us do. So she said, okay, read this. The next one was, Of Mice and Men. So she sort of fed the Steinbeck books to me. When I read The Grapes of Wrath — we saved that for last — I knew that was a very powerful book. I don't know if it had anything to do with my writing style, or me as a writer, because I wasn't thinking about it back then. It had a lot to do with the way I viewed humanity and the struggles of little people against big people. It was a very important book for me."
"Review" by , "As a high school kid struggling to write fiction, some books meant more than others, and some burst upon me with the power of a thunderbolt. John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath was one of those."
"Review" by , "It is a very long novel, the longest that Steinbeck has written, and yet it reads as though it had been composed in a flash, ripped off a typewriter and delivered to the public as an ultimatum. It is a long and thoughtful novel as one thinks about it. It is a short and vivid scene as one feels it."
"Review" by , "[T]here are moments when The Grapes of Wrath reads like an early glimpse of what would become the phenomenon of economic globalization."
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