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Does the second half of Chapter 11 in The Grapes of Wrath prove or disprove the claims...

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AnnneB | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:42 PM via web

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Does the second half of Chapter 11 in The Grapes of Wrath prove or disprove the claims of the first half of the chapter?  Explain.

 

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM (Answer #1)

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This chapter describes what happens to the land when the farmers who were connected and identified with it are force to leave. 

The houses were vacant, and without people the land was vacant. The people who had tended the land were replaced by lifeless machinery and artificial fertilizers. The men who now plowed and fertilized were strangers with no understanding of the relation of men to the land. Empty, the houses ceased to be houses. They were overrun by animals and weeds and were soon torn apart by the severe elements of nature. (eNotes)

The first half of the chapter deals with the new farmers. These men are described as being un-connected (or even disconnected) from the land. They drive tractors and work the land for someone else. This is not their land and it does not have a place in their inner lives as it once did for the individual/independent (share-cropping) farmers. 

The second half of the chapter describes what happens to the houses when these independent farmers have become migrants and have left the land. Animals take up residence. Children break windows. The houses fall into decay. 

The first and second sections of the chapter are not contradictory. They are complimentary. One section deals with the loss of personal connection to the land. The next section deals with the natural results of such a change. 

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