What does the handbill promise? On chapter 9 what does the handbill promise? What is the meaning of the handbill?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The handbill promised jobs for fruit pickers in California. In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck charged that California fruit and vegetable growers were plastering the Dust Bowl with such handbills to attract more workers than they actually needed, thereby driving wages down to starvation levels. In Kevin Starr's comprehensive study, Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California, the prominent historian counters with the accusation that no one has ever been able to produce a single copy of one of these handbills, although they ought to be valuable collectors' items by now. Starr argues that it would have been most short-sighted to attract hordes of indigent and desperate people to California for a short-term profit, when the state would be stuck with the costs of paying for welfare, education, public health and policing indefinitely. In his novel Steinbeck dramatizes the fact that California authorities were actually trying to drive these families of migrant workers back where they came from. See the reference link to Endangered Dreams below.