John Steinbeck is famous American writer and a Nobel Prize winner, who has written many excellent works. His novel The Grapes of Wrath deserves special attention, as it is considered one of the best novels by Steinbeck. And today it remains the pinnacle of creativity of the writer. Critics call it the folk epic. The novel depicts conflicts of national importance, the problem of the fate of American farmers, ruined by banks, trusts, and monopolies.
Externally, the outline of the novel’s events is connected with the history of three generations of farmers The Joads, who are farm founders and American pioneers who seized the land from the Indians. Their children have been driven away from their farms by crop failure and oil monopolies. Their grandchildren have turned into wage laborers. The content of the novel is not confined to the family relations. The Joads tragedy is put in touch with the most important events of our time. The intention of the author is to give the tragedy of the Joads a profound social significance.
The epic story of the Joads contains small-volume chapters of journalistic nature. These passionate lyrical monologues (and sometimes there are polyphonic dialogues), written on behalf of an unnamed tenant, a bartender, or the impoverished farmers of Oklahoma, give the author the opportunity to apply directly to the reader on the most exciting issues. They discuss the reasons of class stratification and impoverishment of farmers, predatory policy of the government and the monopolies, and horrible contrasts of poverty and wealth in the country. In the lyrical digressions Steinbeck not only shows his hatred to the world of well-fed, creating grotesque images of those ruling the country and thinking only about the profit, but also predicts the inevitable destruction of the existing order of things.
Steinbeck talks about the ripening grapes of wrath in the people’s souls, which poses unprecedented opportunities. Addressing mentally his enemies, those in power, the writer says the prophetic words.
The problem of individualism and collectivism is put by Steinbeck not only in terms of the lyrical novel, but also in the epic chapters devoted to the Joads.
Grapes of Wrath is a novel that shows the process of awakening and becoming a collective consciousness among small farmers.
John Steinbeck is famous American writer and a Nobel Prize winner, who has written many excellent works. His novel The Grapes of Wrath deserves special attention, as it is considered one of the best novels by Steinbeck. And today it remains the pinnacle of creativity of the writer. Critics call it the folk epic.