The Grapes of Wrath Questions and Answers
by John Steinbeck

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Is there any lesson that we can learn from The Grapes of Wrath? Is there any lesson that we can learn from The Grapes of Wrath?

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Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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We can learn that, in some situations, the working class has to organize to overcome the power of the moneyed class that controls business. In The Grapes of Wrath the workers do not make any progress until they force the landowners and business owners to pay them higher wages by going on strike.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It seems to me one of the lessons of this novel is the ability to give even when you have virtually nothing. Time after time, people who are barely eking out a living are the ones who have the most compassion and do the most giving. It is a good reminder that giving is not dependent on possessions and circumstances.

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accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I completely agree with all the ideas expressed above. There is clearly so much we can learn from this wonderful novel. However, one of the key lessons that this book teaches us is that there is a profound link between man and land. We are shown the turmoil and disaster that occurs when the Joad family are uprooted from their land - their home - and are left without land and are forced to migrate in search of work. Steinbeck is obvioiusly harshly critical of the market forces in play that have brought this about, and argues, as in his other works, that having land gives us security, identity and self-esteem.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The previous posts were well conceived in their ideas.  I think that one of the strongest points to come out of the novel is the power of collectivity.  When examining the strong hold that material reality has on individuals, one ends up recognizing how individuals succumb to it at the cost of other human beings.  This was certainly so in the Great Depression where individual survival took on an adversarial quality.  While we marvel at how indviduals perservered and survived through such a painful moment in time, I think that there should be some level of more lauding given to those who looked out for others in such a difficult and trying moment.  This is where Steinbeck's work offers powerful insight.  The examples of Jim Casy and Tom Joad being figures who offer themselves for and to others is transcendent.  In a time where individuals looked out for themselves, Steinbeck's narrative indicates to us that the ability to care for and look out for others is not contingent on economic condition or material reality.  When Rose of Sharon feeds a starving man from her own breast milk, it speaks to this element, a lesson to which all individuals can only hope to aspire.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As a socialist himself, John Steinbeck extensively develops the theme of social commitment, that by working together people can help each other.  At the beginning of the novel, for instance, Tom wants no involvement with anyone else.  But, after his experiences on the way to California and because of his friendship with Casy, Tom assumes a commitment to social justice.  Like the turtle who drags himself through the dust, he plants a seed for the future.  In

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