Treatment Of Slavery In The Harvest Gypsies By John Steinbeck

Better Essays
The Harvest Gypsies is a collection of articles written by John Steinbeck in 1936 about the migrant workers and the lifestyle they lived. Steinbeck starts off the book discussing the migrant workers, originating in California, and how they differ from the ‘old kind of laborers,’ immigrants. They come around when crops such as, peaches, grapes, apples, and lettuce, come into harvest and they move to wherever work is needed. “The migrants are needed, and they are hated” (Steinbeck, pg.20). They came across to outsiders as ignorant and dirty and a threat to the crops if they refused to work. Prior to migrating, they were farmers that ended up losing their land and homes due to the Dust Bowl; a series of dust storms in the United States caused …show more content…
He talks about how the Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and Filipino laborers and how each group was treated. They were seen as cheap labor. Steinbeck says, “foreign labor is on the wane in California, and the future farm workers are to be white and American. This fact must be recognized and a rearrangement of the attitude toward and treatment of migrant labor must be achieved” (Steinbeck, pg.57). He suggests that since migrant workers are former farmers, they should be allowed to own leased land and small communities should be built. He also suggests that instead of having the entire family migrate, the men should migrate during the crop season and the women and families should be left at home to work on their land. He stresses the importance of the care for the people who are in that line of work are treated. “To attempt to force them into a peonage of starvation and intimidated despair will be unsuccessful” (Steinbeck, pg.62). The way they are treated by society will determine how they act toward …show more content…
Both events resulted in troubled times for people and workers. People lost their homes, suffered from malnourishment and seemed to be struggling to make it through the day. This book focuses on the problems and results of the Dust Bowl, “the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history”. The Dust Bowl followed The Great Plow-up, which “turned 5.2 million acres of thick native grassland into wheat fields”. Eventually, the United States began to enter into the time of the depression and prices for crops began to sink. Following the drop in prices, a drought began making the soils dry and once the soils dried up and the wind began to blow, the soil would create dust storms. These storms ruined homes and farms (PBS, 2012). Personally, I found that this book showed us another side to what we are learning in lecture. In our lectures, we focus on what is happening in the cities during the time of the Great Depression. We haven’t touched on the Dust Bowl and I think this reading was assigned to show us both sides of this time period. I also feel that the events of the Dust Bowl took the problems of the Great Depression and brought them a step further. Overall, I found this book to be very interesting and great read. It was eye opening to read about the problems during this time and to read about what people and families suffered

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Those who owed money on loans or mortgages couldn 't pay when crops failed year after year. Six years of severe drought struck the region, quickly draining its groundwater supply. In addition, poor farming practices were taking a heavy toll on the land” (“Overview: The Grapes of Wrath” 2). John’s stories stress the inevitable effects of nature on humanity and helps people of the time relate to the matter. John demonstrates in The Grapes of Wrath that many people died from natural causes such as disease and starvation from the Dust Bowl killing farmer’s food sources- man vs. nature.…

    • 1312 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Bull Market Boom Dbq

    • 1774 Words
    • 8 Pages

    The farmer dropped the eggs he was holding, which represented the falling prices (Document 11). This farmer represented the farm industry, the United States, and its surplus of goods and materials. The overproduction he had tripped over was enough for prices to fall. When there is an overproduction of goods, prices need to fall in order to get rid of the extras. This caused the Great Depression since the cost of everything was down, businesses could not make money.…

    • 1774 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The great depression an event with the worst economic collapse in the history causing unemployment and difficulty to live a daily live. The dust bowl an event that made the situation even worst, dust storms making many people abandoned their land one way or the other and this moving population will face difficulties to survive.The moving population or family 's became migrants workers that lived in a miserable state and discrimination against them.In my opinio this time could be the down fall of humans but it suprice me that people move on and survive this time a inpiring and breath taking…

    • 764 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Great Depression was the continuous struggle of America to survive living in poverty from October 29, 1929 to 1939. This was triggered by the stock market crashing, but was mainly caused by the downfall of industries and agriculture. For industries, automobiles replaced railroads, fewer home were built, coal lost 50% to hydroelectric, natural gas and oil, and glass, lumber and concrete were tied to construction. For agriculture, farmers overproduced during WWI, so the prices of their products dropped. This led negligent farmers to pull out the crops and plants from their land which eventually caused the Dust Bowl where winds blew the left over dirt during a drought.…

    • 1004 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The meager income and poor soil were further worsened when drought struck the plains of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1934 and again in 1937; the scorching wind blew the topsoil into fine dust which forcing the farmers to abandon their unproductive desert. Grasshoppers and wheat rust further contributed to the crop failures as they destroyed the remaining crops that were struggling to survive. Almost nothing could grow under the onslaughts of nature. In terms of yield per acre, prairies wheat production had dropped to an historic low in 1937. This was less than one third of the yields achieved in 1928.…

    • 2455 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    New Deal DBQ

    • 959 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Great Depression was America’s lowest and longest downtick throughout Western history which was an after effect of the Stock Market collapse in 1929. There were many short term causes that contributed to the Depression, but the two main long term causes were agriculture and industry. Farmers made a living by growing crops and providing food for the war raging in Europe. After the war was over, the farmers income dropped and they upturned their land. Since there was a severe drought, the soil collected and was picked up by strong winds creating a Dust Bowl which, in the end, put all farmers out of business.…

    • 959 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Why did the Dust Bowl occur? In this essay I will be discussing the causes and effects of the dust bowl which happened from 1931 to about 1940. Causes and Effects of the Dust Bowl mainly consisted of major droughts, The Great Depression, and agricultural decline.This affected the Southern Plains more, compared to the Northern Plains. Thousands were affected and had a really hard time living through this horrible era in America. Before 1931 farmers in the midwest made a living from selling their crops, but after that it was completely different.…

    • 782 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This became known as the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl was basically an area involving about 5 states in which massive storms of dust, dirt and gravel would blow around and ruin many, many crops. It made daily life way more difficult then it had to be. Farmers were losing their farms due to drop in demand for certain foods including wheat which prices dropped very low and farmers decided to try planting more of it to keep up in income, this led to a loss in money instead of gain. The storms also contributed to the loss of land by not allowing farmers to plant effectively given how the soil was being blown and torn apart.…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    There was a lot of people affected by the Great Depression and the droughts. One group that possibly was the most affected by it was the farmers. The wind ruined crops. The drought also contributed to the decrease in crop production. A decrease in crop production meant that less money was being made which also lead to a lot of farmers and their families losing their homes.…

    • 135 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Introduction The Dust Bowl of 1930 was the worst environmental disaster in the US history. Poor farming practices and extreme drought greatly damaged the ecosystem in the Great Plains. [1] The Dust Bowl was a man-make environmental destruction that completely transformed the landscape. Strong winds blew away an average of 480 tons of topsoil per acre, degrading soil productivity, harming health, and damaging air quality. [2] The wind removed the topsoil and the remaining dry soil was not suitable for vegetation growth.…

    • 743 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays