The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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What is the message in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck illustrates the importance of solidarity among citizens in contrast to competition, which is represented by the interests of big banks and wealthy landowners. The Joad family, who represent the poor migrant farmers heading west in search of jobs, come into conflict with police and powerful landowners, who attempt to take advantage of the Okies by offering them work with little pay and no job security.

The Joad family, particularly Tom, learn the importance of community and unity by working with other families in similar situations. When the Joads arrive at the Weedpatch government camp in California, Steinbeck illustrates the effectiveness of self-sufficiency and unity through the democratic nature and efficiency of the camp. In the Weedpatch camp, members elect their own representatives to a Central Committee, which governs the camp. The independent nature of the camp is threatened by the Farmer’s Association, which attempts to start a riot...

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