John Steinbeck Questions and Answers

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Why did John Steinbeck write the Grapes of Wrath? Is John Steinbeck a fanatic socialist or do you have a reliable source that tells that he wrote the book for other reasons than telling the human being that communism or hands on economics capitalism is the best type of society?

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Steinbeck was a supporter of the rights of the individual, the "little guy" and he commiserated with the farmers who were the big losers in the Dust Bowl phenomenon of the 1930s.

Ultimately, Steinbeck probably wrote The Grapes of Wrath to promote social consciousness and awareness of the plight of the poor, migrants who were displaced during the Depression.

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John Steinbeck also embraced the philosophy of the Transcendentalists, especially Emerson who propounded the concept of the "Oversoul."  While men are, indeed, individuals, they do need to work with each other.  In Chapter 8 of his seminal work, "The Grapes of Wrath," Steinbeck's character Jim Casey expresses this idea of men in harmony with nature, working together for the good of all; doing so is something holy and accomplishes much.

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Is it possible to work together in society and still live individual lives? Of course! Steinbeck did not devalue the idea of individualism; he valued and respected the individual. What he rejected was an economic system in which those with money and power exploited and abused those without means and influence. This was the same philosophy that once drove emigrants from the Old World into the American colonies. (Read Crevecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer.")

When The Grapes of Wrath was published, it laid bare the abuse of economic power as Steinbeck observed it, personally. Naturally, those who wielded that economic power (especially in Oklahoma and California where the book was banned) were outraged because their practices had been challenged. Often, when working men and women seek to form a union to even the odds and better their working conditions, those in power cry "Socialism!" In...

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melissa1106 | Student

Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath to make people aware of what was going on in the 1930s during the Great Depression. He describes the conditions of the dust bowls and how the crops were going south due to the drought and dust. He believed in the american dream and supported local farmers.

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epollock | Student

John Steinbeck wrote "Grapes of Wrath" probably to say that ooppression will lead to wrath but also that workers shall be redeemed through cooperation. It does not have anything to do with losing our individuality.

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chgj | Student

But what is the message - is the message that people should join together and work together as one big thing instead of living individual lives we should live a life where we help one another getting the best out of it. That economy works best with hands on economy as Keynes predicted?

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