During the book, there are complicated causes, few gains, and many difficult losses in the conflict. Causes include greedy rich people and poor land, gains are hard to think of off the top of my head, and the losses are too many to begin naming. It makes me wonder how the family managed not to give up.
The start of the Joad family’s fight for survival is when the bank kicks them off of their land. Their land has become poor with drought. They can not grow anything without water, and after a while the soil turns into infertile dust. The bank forces them out so it can farm the lands itself and make more of a profit. They are kicked out of their home and have no work or place to stay (Steinbeck 62). Later, in California, the greedy farmers starve workers to make a bigger profit. They bring in more people to compete for the jobs, and with more people there needing work, more of them will work for less money.
There are very few gains in the book, as the entire story is really pretty depressing. The first thing I think of is that Al found himself a girl that he wants to marry (Steinbeck 348). Even though it would be really hard for them to have a good life in California, at least the two of them have each other, which is something. Another thing gained is Tom’s understanding of people and some aspects of society. When Tom has to hide out, he starts to think about what Casy told him about (Steinbeck 344). Understanding is not much to gain when the entire family is starving, but at least it is something, I guess.
I am not going to get into all of the losses of the conflict, because there are way too many to fit into this blog. Did I mention this book was really extremely depressing, because it was.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.