The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.
At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, 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. From their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of this new America, Steinbeck creates a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, tragic but ultimately stirring in its insistence on human dignity.
©1939 John Steinbeck (P)2011 Penguin
The narrator performed well, but the book's ending was terribly unsatisfying. The journey of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California is wrought with struggle and misfortune. Once in California, the Joads never do have any easy time trying to live. The listener is left feeling as desperate and hopeless and angry as any of the characters. The Great Depression was no joke. This should be required reading for youth. My emotions were all over the place and the Joads are an unforgettable family who survived despite countless obstacles without losing their own humanity.
I don't know how I missed reading this until now. It's on the short list of greatest novels ever written and it belongs there as the quintessential "everyman" novel.
Dylan Baker does a solid job differentiating the voices of the different HEY DO YOU LIKE HARMONICA MUSIC? YOU'RE GOING TO LISTEN TO SOME JOLTINGLY LOUD HARMONICA MUSIC RIGHT NOW WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! characters. But the producer who put this audiobook together didn't OH LOOK IT'S TIME FOR MORE REALLY LOUD HARMONICA MUSIC! I HOPE YOU LIKE IT BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T IT'S REALLY GOING TO MESS WITH THE STORY! consider the way it would sound if every chapter was separated with some lousy harmonica playing at nine thousand decibels. The overall experience of listening to this OOPS NOW HERE'S ANOTHER SUPER LOUD HARMONICA INTERLUDE!! audiobook as an exercise in patience. Not recommended if, for example, you like listening to audiobooks at bedtime.
East of Eden. both are great stories. Steinbeck has gift of being able to describe and build characters, and through stories to help us relate to our human struggles and questions and inner motives
Tom. seemed to tie whole story together. balanced yet strong-willed. or maybe his mother - she was a strong woman; ready to fight to keep family together. I remember her line "A man can be the head of the family so long as he is earning money, if he's not, then someone else gotta take over" (my own words)
no opinion. reading was good
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
John Steinbeck, in “The Grapes of Wrath”, vivifies and immortalises the great depression. For those of us too young to remember the 1930’s depression, there is Henry Fonda’s 1940 movie classic. “The Grapes of Wrath” is the story of Tom Joad (played by Henry Fonda), Steinbeck’s principled hero, who begins and ends a family’ tale of hardship and tragedy.
One falls in love with the Joad family in “The Grapes of Wrath” because of its human warmth. The Joads, like many mid-western’ families in the great depression, lose their 40 acre farm because of poor farming practices and growing farm consolidation in the twentieth century. Steinbeck paints pictures of greedy banks foreclosing forty acre homesteads and bulldozing farm houses to combine farm tracts for corporate land owners. The Joad family is evicted from their 40 acre farm. They sell their plow team, farming tools, and non-essential belongings and buy a beaten down Hudson truck. They reframe the Hudson to carry passengers and possessions from Oklahoma to California. They are lured by a flyer that says there are good paying jobs in California for the unemployed; however, there are so many bankrupt farming families that respond to this flyer; the Joads find good paying jobs are a fiction; i.e. pay scales are driven down by mass unemployment and employer’ “greed”. The Joad family journey is filled with hardship and disappointment with the only listener’ or reader’ pleasure coming from vignettes of familial affection; i.e. family bonds; bonds held together by an indomitable mother.
In 2013, “Grapes of Wrath” offers lessons to Americans that deny the importance of a “safety net” for the unemployed; the dangers of a widening gap between “haves and have not’s”, and the fragile nature of the environment. Unbridled capitalism tears the fabric of society when it ignores minimum standards of living, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the environmental consequence of human greed. Rand ignores capitalism’s evil potential and Steinbeck exaggerates it.
Like Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, “The Grapes of Wrath” shows an extreme end of an ideologue’s perception of American capitalism; i.e. both authors deny or exaggerate human nature to make their points. Rand pictures capitalism as the fountainhead of prosperity and a perfect society; Steinbeck sees capitalism as a vehicle of destruction, a “dog-eat-dog” existence that breaks families apart and destroys society.
The truth is Rand and Steinbeck have written two highly entertaining books with opposite, myopic visions of the value and truth of capitalism; i.e. Rand envisions libertine capitalism while Steinbeck proposes collective capitalism; neither of which acknowledge the truth of human nature. Mankind is both good and bad and cannot be left in a state of nature. Human nature in a capitalist society must be prudently regulated by a deliberative government that balances the interests of its citizens.
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