Lessons From The Unexpected In John Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath

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Lessons from the Unexpected
An Analysis of “Grapes of Wrath” Beginning in the 1920’s, Americans were thriving, people were living off if their own hard work and dedication, striving for lives full of beautiful and expensive things along with beautiful and gracious people. However, when this booming economy fell in the Crash of ’29, the 1930’s became a doomed time period, consisting of starvation, economy desperation, and altogether sadness. Conn agrees, stating, “Beginning with the stock market crash of 1929 and ending with America’s entry into the Second World War, the long Depression decade was a period of immense social, economic, and political turmoil.” This era, however, was not only a time of horror for economic reasons, but also environmental
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Rifkind agrees, “Moreover, while a good number of women rose to prominence in the cultural spheres of 1930’s socialism, relatively few attained positions of political leadership. This point to a gendered division between political and artistic labour, the subordination of the ‘soft’ work of cultural production to the ‘hard’ work of political organizing by male party leaders.” In the 1930’s, this idea was somewhat conveyed, as many women held families together, hoping their men would not ‘break’ and leave the family; women were strong! However, as shown by the end of this novel, they were still designated to the female figure because that is what they did/do best. Rose of Sharon displays this livelihood, ultimately preventing this man from dying so that he may have a rebirth and go on to continue providing for his son and possibly get a second chance. The woman was the only one who could do this, therefore, the idea of the matriarch or females of the households being the ‘glue’ of the family was portrayed. Steinbeck recognizes the strong will these women showed, yet he still understands it was the men who were the leaders, with warriors of wives and daughters holding their ground in the fight for life, …show more content…
Namely, the Dust Bowl was the major one which forced the immigration of many farmers from the southern plains to the ‘land of milk and honey,’ California. John Steinbeck’s book “Grapes of Wrath provides its readers with a clear understanding of the trials of this journey. But to take a step back to view the larger picture, Young states, “By 1932, one out of every five American workers was unemployed, and others were underemployed, attempting to adjust to partial schedules and reduced hours. Without jobs, without income, the shame of unemployment drove many from their spouses…” This tragedy was clearly widespread starting first with the devastation of the economy. However, the ending of Steinbeck’s book provides insight to that time and messages which prevail in a reader’s mind once finished with the book, those being of new life, matriarchy, and the inherent kindness in all people which was often displayed in this calamitous time period. Rose of Sharon’s bold act in suckling a grown man displays all three of these ideas, and most of all displays the desperate measures which these American citizens went to for

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