Study Guide

In Dubious Battle Setting

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Torgas Valley, California (1930s)

Don't try to pin this one on Google Earth—it doesn't exist. And despite scholars' best efforts, there is no single location in Central or Northern California that quite matches Steinbeck's description of the Torgas Valley.

It's most likely that Steinbeck mashed up two strike incidents and their locations to create the geography for Mac and Jim's adventures in the apple orchards. Steinbeck is less interested in the specifics of the setting than in giving us something that will encourage us to imagine not just one place or one conflict, but also the many others involved in the economic crises of the day.

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