Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Jim Nolan’s father is a working man brought to his death by the blows of police clubs and pistol butts. As a youngster, Jim witnesses both his father’s courage and his despair. Jim sees his mother lose even her religious faith as poverty and starvation overwhelm the family. Older, but still keenly remembering his youth, with the scars of brutality and starvation deeply embedded in his heart, Jim becomes a member of the Communist Party. He is assigned to work with Mac, an able, experienced organizer. Together, they become fruit pickers, at a time when the fruit growers cut wages lower than the workers think possible. A strike is brewing, and Mac and Jim determine to hurry it along and to direct its course.
Luck is with them. Shortly after their arrival at the camp of the workers, Mac, giving the impression that he is a doctor, helps London’s thirteen-year-old daughter-in-law Lisa give birth. Word of Mac’s accomplishment spreads throughout the area. After Mac and Jim becomes friendly with London, leader of the camp, and the other workers, they persuade the fruit pickers to organize and to strike for higher wages and for better living conditions. This is not easy to do. As usual, the orchard owners make effective use of communism as a bogey. Furthermore, the vigilantes are a constant menace, not to mention deputies, troops, and strikebreakers, all hirelings of the fruit growers. In addition, the authorities can always close down the camp by...
(The entire section is 948 words.)
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