The Grapes of Wrath: Written How Long Ago?
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So... if grapes of wrath sat out too long, would they become raisins of wrath? If so, this could seriously affect the entire mood of our bran flake cereal. Hmmm... maybe it means something else? We can only hope.
|American Literature||All American Literature|
|Author||Steinbeck - John Steinbeck|
|Early 20th-Century Literature||Early 20th-Century American Literature|
Lies and Deceit
And we’re not talking an… eat some ice cream on the couch and sing along to Taylor
More like the kind that gets its own chapter in textbooks.
So if the Grapes of Wrath is… not-so-ancient-history, why do some of the book’s quotations sound
like they were cribbed from the evening news in 2008?
Either Steinbeck had a crystal ball, or Americans are still dealing with the same money problems
we had 90 years ago. Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl isn’t winning any
awards for Best Place to Make a Living.
Tenant farmers are fighting eviction by penny-pinching landowners, and they can’t even wreak vengeance
with a flaming bag of dog poop…
…because the landowners blame it all on a faceless bank.
As one corporate minion said… The Shawnee Land and Cattle Company ain’t nobody. It’s
a company. So much for customer service.
After the housing market crashed in 2008, homeowners had the same problem fighting their
It’s kind of hard to argue your case to a complaint form on the internet. At least
1-800 numbers play you some tunes. Steinbeck’s characters feel helpless to
stop the forces pushing them off their land.
The same company underling as before explained:
The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It's the monster. Men made it, but they
can't control it.
Well, that’s comforting.
When Citibank fell through a hole of its own making in 2008…
…the government had to haul it out, and it seemed like the whole country would be
dragged down with it.
Innocent bystanders couldn’t really do much about it one way or the other; most of us
were as helpless as the Joads.
Although, on a happier note, the 21st century was better equipped to deal with large amounts
Okay, so perhaps the Joads weren’t dealing with quite the level of greed that we see
…but they still had to battle for their own survival and success against the powers
that be, and those powers had an agenda of their own.
Here’s another quote ripped directly from a news anchor’s teleprompter:
The bank - the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. … When
the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.
Now this is starting to sound more like Cookie Monster.
Except instead of cookies, the banks wanted low-carb greenbacks.
It’s creepy how similar the crash is to Steinbeck’s novel…
…old-timey investors buy lots of land to rent out for farming, and get a nasty surprise
when all of the lovely dirt blows away. Cue the crash.
So what do you think?
Is Steinbeck’s novel stuck in a 2008 time warp?
Are his faceless monsters still around today in the form of money-grubbing corporations?
Are humans still creating their own worst enemies?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.