The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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How does each member of the Joad family feel about going to California and leaving home in The Grapes of Wrath?

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The Grapes of Wrath was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. The novel is set in the time of the Great Depression and focuses on the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers. During this time, many families were forced to leave Oklahoma after years of drought and the Great Depression. The family members generally try to view the move as a fresh start; they see fliers announcing fruit-picking jobs in California and begin to think about a future there. Although Ma tells Tom that she thinks the stories about California sound too good to be true, soon even Grampa is convinced about the move:

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mkcapen1 | Student

The Joad family was like the many poor farmers of the drought regions during the depression.  Each family member had watched their crops dry up and die, the land turn to sand and dust, and had their lives abruptly changed.  For the Joads the need to move was as necessary as it had been for the other farmers.  They watched as their neighbors had packed up and moved away.  The region they had lived in had changed and become an un-inhabitable environment.

For the most part, despite the tragedy of their lives, the family members were ready to move on.  They had nothing left for them at their home.  They purchased their vehicle with the excitement and hopes of having a new life lay before them.  Ma Joad was the guidance that projected hope into her family.  They had no idea that their exodus and entrance into California would be met with negativity.

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