John Steinbeck’s novel traces the struggles of the extended Joad family from Oklahoma on their way to California in the 1930s. The Joads lost their land to the Dust Bowl, and, like many other tenant farmers, could no longer grow crops. Steinbeck uses the personal struggles of the characters in this novel to depict the broader conditions, social injustices, and isolation that affected the Southwest region of the United States in that era.
The Joad family consists of many biological members, plus a few close friends. One of Steinbeck’s major themes in The Grapes of Wrath is the strength of the family relationship. In addition to those members related by blood, he considers all the travelers on the journey to California, including those they meet on the way, as part of the extended family. They all have different motives for migration to the West. Some travel reluctantly, others travel willingly. Some wish to start new lives, while others feel they have no choice.
In the first of a few...
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