This story reflects on the depravity (that is a really good word) of California during the great depression. It points out how the poor workers were exploited and under paid for their work. It exposes greed and selfishness and all kinds of things the average American would not like to believe possible in their own country. Before going into the elaboration, I need to remind that no country is perfect.
Before reading this book, I never knew that anything close to this happened during the great depression. Migrants from the area affected by the dust bowl moved to California to find work in huge numbers (Steinbeck 198). I never would have realized just how many of them there were unless this book had stated it so dramatically either. The parts of the story that tell about the entire region are really gripping and help gage how widespread the problems were.
I also learned that the migrant workers were treated very unfairly in California, where they were looking for a fresh start. Apparently, huge numbers of workers were brought in, only to be given few jobs at meager pay (Steinbeck 163). And apparently, that was the plan the big farmers had from the start. I know this is going to sound a bit silly, but that is just a mean thing to do. What compels a person to do something so cruel and heartless? I never would have known a thing about it either if I had not read this book. Why do they feel the need to starve people to make a few extra bucks? It just does not make sense to me.
I am always sorry to learn about something bad happening in my country’s history, especially on such a scale as this. I wonder if the police were really in on it, or if that was just put in to make it more dramatic. One thing is for certain, I really want to know more about the way things were in California at the time, and how they could have been fixed.
Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin, 2002. Print.